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Plea deal falls through in East Coast rapes case

Associated Press Modified: November 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012

But a court-appointed evaluator concluded that Thomas was faking his symptoms, and the defense lawyers dropped plans for an insanity defense shortly before scheduling Tuesday's hearing.

Thomas' lawyers declined comment to reporters after the hearing.

Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert said Thomas had signed a plea agreement admitting guilt in two rapes and three abductions in the Halloween attacks. Ebert had agreed to drop three lesser firearms charges as part of the deal. Thomas would have faced up to life in prison under the deal's terms, with a judge determining the ultimate sentence.

Ebert said after the hearing that he had hoped the plea deal would go forward to spare the victims from testifying at trial, but he's prepared to put on the case regardless.

In court, Thomas looked more alert than at previous hearings but kept his head down and his shoulders hunched forward.

Ebert said he was not surprised Thomas balked at the plea due to his odd behavior.

"He's an unusual character," Ebert said.