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Mental defense possible in state school board member's slaying

Posted September 29, 2011

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— Lawyers for a Raleigh man facing a possible death sentence in the slaying of a state school board official are considering using his mental health as part of his defense when he goes to trial next year.

During a routine hearing Thursday, defense attorneys for Jason Keith Williford, 31, gave notice to the court and prosecutors that they might argue that he had a diminished mental capacity when he allegedly raped and repeatedly beat Kathy Taft on the head last year.

Taft, 62, of Greenville, was recovering from surgery at a friend's home in Raleigh when the crime happened on March 6, 2010. She died three days later.

Williford, who is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree forcible rape, is expected to go to trial March 5.

Investigators haven't offered a motive for the crime but have said they do not believe that Taft knew Williford.

15 Comments

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  • itsmyownopinion Sep 30, 2011

    It's going to be hard to follow it here if they keep it in the back room. After closing the link and then coming back, I couldn't find it. I had to do a search on Kathy Taft to find it.

  • fayncmike Sep 30, 2011

    "I really want justice for Kathy Taft. I've followed this story from the beginning, here and on web-sleuths, and was relieved to learn the suspect was not a friend or relative as there was much speculation about that possibility.
    itsmyownopinion"

    I'll try to follow the trial closely before deciding.

  • itsmyownopinion Sep 30, 2011

    "What I don't understand is often I don't see my posting but when I try to re-post it, I get the message that it might be a duplicate."

    That happens to me also fayncmike. I got so frustrated with that bright red message one night, I kept hitting it, trying to get somebody to pay attention. I thought I might get banned for life.

    I really want justice for Kathy Taft. I've followed this story from the beginning, here and on web-sleuths, and was relieved to learn the suspect was not a friend or relative as there was much speculation about that possibility.

  • fayncmike Sep 30, 2011

    "You are so right about that Scuba. My posts never violate TOS, but I tire of writing comments that never get posted."

    What I don't understand is often I don't see my posting but when I try to re-post it, I get the message that it might be a duplicate.

  • itsmyownopinion Sep 30, 2011

    You are so right about that Scuba. My posts never violate TOS,
    but I tire of writing comments that never get posted. I think that's the reason I wandered into golo in the first place.

    My heart is not bleeding for Jason Williford. What a shame Kathy Taft was so brutally murdered.

  • Minxi23 Sep 30, 2011

    Mr. Middle of the Road - Please explain how scubagirl's comment does not make any sense. All she is saying if moderators continue to prevent comments from being posted, it might drive away the WRAL/Golo members. Makes perfect sense.

  • braddavis Sep 30, 2011

    If the state murders Jason Williford than their actions are just as reprehensible as Williford's were, assuming, of course, he's found juilty

    --If she was your mother would you say the same thing?

  • danunger Sep 30, 2011

    Mental defense indeed......just another individual that wanted to die by lethal injection and now he should get his wish. Ms. Taft did not ask for what he did to her, yeah I know allegedly, so "when"onvicted he should live because??

  • NotAgain Sep 30, 2011

    All criminals have a "diminished mental capacity." That's no defense as I see it. -ftpc99

    Agree 100%. Having mental issues and allowed to socialize should bring more charges, bring in anyone who knew he was sick and did nothing about it. They are guilty as well. We need to put those mental folks back behind secret locked doors and be done with it. I know I want to be on the board of makes these decisions though, and dont make enemies.

  • eoglane Sep 29, 2011

    SPEED UP THE CLEARING OF DEATH ROW SHOW THESE STUPIDS WE MEAN BUSINESS, STOP DOING THE MENTAL THING. THEY ALL CLAIM MENTAL, CHECK ACTIONS DAYS BEFORE THE CRIME THEY WHERE NORMAL AS ANYONE COULD BE.

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