Kathy Taft murder case
Kathy Arnold Taft, 62, a longtime member of the North Carolina State Board of Education, was raped and brutally beaten March 6, 2010, while recovering from surgery at a friend's home in Raleigh. She died three days later.
Jason Keith Williford was an out-of-work amateur musician who lived less than a quarter-mile from where Taft was staying when he broke into the home and attacked her. In April 2010, police charged him with first-degree rape and first-degree murder after linking him to the crime using DNA from a discarded cigarette butt.
Prosecutors unsuccessfully sought the death penalty against Williford, who was found guilty of first-degree murder on June 1, 2012. He will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
State appeals court upholds use of cigarette butt as evidence in murder of state school board member
The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that use of a discarded cigarette butt as evidence in the trial of a man accused in the death of North Carolina State Board of Education member Kathy Taft was constitutional and that Jason Williford, convicted for Taft's murder, got a fair trial.
State says conviction should be upheld in NC school official's murder
Attorneys for North Carolina say the state Court of Appeals should uphold a Jason Wiliford's first-degree murder conviction for raping and killing state school board member Kathy Taft in 2010.
New trial sought in murder of State Board of Ed member
Two years after he received a life sentence for the rape and beating death of North Carolina state school board member, a Raleigh man has appealed his conviction and is seeking a new trial.
Wake DA rejected plea deal in Taft murder case
A defense attorney for a Raleigh man convicted of killing state school board member Kathy Taft says his client's capital murder trial was unnecessary because Wake County's district attorney rejected a plea deal that would have put him in prison for the rest of his life.
Parents of Kathy Taft's killer might have saved his life
Five weeks after they sent Jason Williford to prison for life for the March 2010 rape and beating death of state school board member Kathy Taft, three jurors say their decision might have been different if it weren't for his family.
Jason Williford sentenced to life in prison for Kathy Taft's death
A Wake County jury deliberated for more than five hours before recommending a life prison sentence Thursday for Jason Williford in the rape and beating death of North Carolina state school board member Kathy Taft two years ago.
Jury disagreed on life sentence for Kathy Taft's killer
The Wake County jury that sent Jason Williford to prison for the rest of his life for the murder two years ago of state school board member Kathy Taft initially was split on whether he should have been put to death for the crime.
Death the only just sentence in Taft's murder, state says
Wake County prosecutors say state school board member Kathy Taft's 2010 rape and murder were so brutal that the death penalty is the only fitting punishment for her killer, Jason Williford, who was convicted last week of first-degree murder in the case.
Williford closer to learning fate for Kathy Taft's murder
Attorneys are expected to present final arguments Wednesday morning in the sentencing phase of Jason Williford's murder trial before jurors deliberate whether he should spend life in prison or face the death penalty for Kathy Taft's March 2010 death.
Defense offers another side to Jason Williford
Defense attorneys called family members and friends of Jason Williford to testify on his behalf Monday in an effort to keep him off death row for the March 2010 rape and murder of state school board member Kathy Taft.
Kathy Taft's killer guilty of first-degree murder
A Wake County jury on Friday found Jason Williford guilty of first-degree murder in the March 2010 death of North Carolina state school board member Kathy Taft.
Attorneys plead their cases before Williford jury
A Wake County jury began Thursday afternoon deliberating the fate of Jason Williford, who's charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape and first-degree burglary in the March 2010 death of state school board member Kathy Taft.
Williford jurors to consider second-degree murder in Taft case
Closing arguments are expected Thursday morning in the first-degree murder trial of a man accused of raping and beating state school board member Kathy Taft in Raleigh as she slept two years ago.
State refutes Williford defense's expert witnesses
Defense attorneys for Jason Williford, accused of killing state school board member Kathy Taft, rested their case Tuesday, after calling eight witnesses to testify in his murder trial.
Did Taft's accused killer realize consequences of attack?
Depression along with alcohol and drug abuse significantly impaired Jason Williford's ability to think through the consequences of attacking Kathy Taft, a forensic pscyhologist testified Friday.
Expert: Booze, drugs kept Williford from planning attack
Jason Williford suffered from severe sexual addiction, and his consumption of alcohol and Ritalin likely factors into his assault on North Carolina state school board member Kathy Taft, experts testified Thursday.
Defense portrays Taft's accused killer as mentally damaged
Testifying for nearly three hours, Jason Williford's mother recounted years of her son's struggles with addiction, anger issues and sexual deviancy.
Kathy Taft's accused killer attacked wife days before arrest
The wife of Jason Williford described her husband's behavior leading up to and following state school board member Kathy Taft's death while testifying Tuesday in his first-degree murder trial.
Judge dismisses second juror in Jason Williford trial
Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner dismissed a second juror Tuesday in the capital trial of Jason Williford, who is accused of raping and beating state school board member Kathy Taft.
Trial of Kathy Taft's accused killer continued until Tuesday
Testimony in the trial of Jason Williford, accused of killing state school board member Kathy Taft, was continued until Tuesday because of a child care issue involving one of the jurors.