Local News

Suspect to make first court appearance in Kathy Taft slaying

Posted April 18, 2010

— A suspect in the slaying of State Board of Education member Kathy Taft will make his first court appearance Monday.

Jason Williford Taft slaying suspect to make court appearance

Jason Keith Williford, 30, of 2812-D Wayland Drive, was arrested Friday at a campground at Lake Jordan, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. He is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the death of 62-year-old Taft.

Taft died March 9 at WakeMed, three days after she was assaulted at the 2710 Cartier Drive home of a friend and suffered a severe head injury.

On March 6, her sister, Dina Arnold Holton, of Oriental, called 911 to say that Taft was having complications from neck surgery and was unresponsive. A surgeon realized that Taft had been assaulted, and a medical exam also turned up evidence of a sexual assault.

Police have not released details of what led to Williford's arrest, but Chief Harry Dolan said Saturday that DNA was "instrumental."

Williford was uncooperative in the investigation and was identified as a suspect a few days ago, the police chief said. That identification came independently of a review of his criminal record – he has convictions for breaking-and-entering in Wake County.

There are no other persons of interest in the case, and Williford is not a suspect in any other crime, Dolan said.

Williford was being held without bond in the Wake County jail Sunday. His court appearance is set for 2 p.m. Monday.  Taft's daughter, Page Fuqua, said she plans to be in the courtroom.

"I wouldn't miss it for anything. I plan to be there in the front row," Fuqua said Saturday.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • gnewsome1 Apr 19, 2010

    The punk deserves to get exactly what he gave this fine woman. I feel for the family, all of them. Wonder if DSS will be blamed for this as well. People, including career criminals, should "man up" and take responsibility for their own actions and quit blaming everyone else.

  • dugmeister Apr 19, 2010

    Professor Plum did it in the library with the candle stick. That sounds just as plausible as the armchair detectives raggin on the sister. Get a life... isn't Oprah on? lifetime channel..? yeh that's it. Just kick back and REALLY 'exercise' your brain by watching the lifetime channel. That oughta appease your SHS (Sherlock Homles Syndrome) for spell.

  • itsmyownopinion Apr 19, 2010

    Most of you people can't handle the truth. It's shameful.

  • NC Reader Apr 19, 2010

    I feel for the sister. First, the armchair Keystone Kops on here were arguing that she was somehow responsible. Now they're suggesting that she might have been having an affair. I agree with passport423. The police don't always tell the general public everything, because that approach is often helpful in catching the perpetrator.

  • 07GoldWinger Apr 19, 2010

    If only RPD would put this much effort into all murder cases....

  • slaterric Apr 19, 2010

    Well said "passport423" !!

  • passport423 Apr 19, 2010

    Here's what I think happened: The guy is a drug addict/drunk with a history of breaking and entering. He broke and entered and then found Ms. Taft sleeping and decided to take advantage of the situation and rape her. He is an evil, self-centered person who thinks the world owes him and I have not one bit of pity for him or his addictions. I don't think he followed anyone home or met anyone beforehand. It was a random act of violence and anyone of us could have been his victim. Thank goodness there weren't 2 dead women that night. But you'd probably still be trying to make it Dina's fault. Perhaps because it makes you feel like it couldn't happen to you because you'd never do _______________________ (whatever you feel they did to bring it on themselves).

  • Hans Apr 19, 2010

    "@janeybelle - Same here - I'm wondering if the sister had possibly met him out earlier that night somewhere and told him to meet her at the house later."

    Oh good grief.

  • TeresaBee Apr 19, 2010

    Froggytroat, If we can't be armchair quarterbacks on this comment page then what is Golo here for? Is it so there can be 200 comments saying the same thing like "so glad he caught the guy, I hpe they through the book at him" etc. There is nothing in the Golo Guidelines that says we can't quarterback or make comments about the victims sister for that matter.

  • froggytroat Apr 19, 2010

    >>It will be VERY interesting to see what comes out in the coming weeks.

    Wow. The armchair quarterbacks are out in force today.