WRAL Investigates

Taft murder suspect described as 'emotionally unstable'

Posted April 21, 2010
Updated June 4, 2012

— The man charged with rape and murder in the death of State Board of Education member Kathy Taft had a protective order filed against him several years ago alleging that he was "emotionally unstable" and that his "violence is unpredictable."

The February 2005 order, obtained Wednesday by WRAL News, was filed by Jason Keith Williford's former girlfriend. Williford was arrested last week and charged with the March 6 attack on Taft that led to her death.

According to a request for the order, the woman – whose name has been redacted to protect her identity – alleged that, on the day her son was born in November 2004, Williford went to the hospital drunk, threw her into a door, pulled her hair and punched her. From November to February, he continually made harassing phone calls, she said.

Jason Keith Williford mugshot Accusations of domestic violence in suspect's past

The woman had no comment Wednesday.

Documents also showed that the couple fought over custody of the child until the court terminated his visitation rights when it was determined that he was not the biological father.

Court records do not indicate any charges or convictions on the February 2005 allegations, but they do indicate that he was charged in October 2003 with communicating threats and making harassing phone calls against her. The charges were voluntarily dismissed.

Williford, 30, of 2812-D Wayland Drive, faces one count each of first-degree murder and first-degree forcible rape in Taft's death. Her sister found her bloodied and unresponsive in a home where they were staying on Cartier Drive. Taft died three days later at WakeMed.

Sources said Williford, who lives less than a quarter-mile from the home, refused to provide DNA to police, which made investigators suspicious. Officers obtained a sample of his DNA from a discarded cigarette butt, sources said.

Shortly after his arrest Friday at a Jordan Lake campground, police searched the apartment where he and his wife live, and authorities had his car towed from the scene.

Many neighbors said Williford kept to himself and that they had never met him. Some who do know him, however, have said he was not well-liked and carried on in a cavalier manner in the weeks following Taft's death.

"He was always a devious-looking character, sort of a seedy-looking person," said John Bloomquist, who owns Berkley Café in downtown Raleigh.

Bloomquist said Williford played in a band there and was a frequent customer.

"He had the type of personality – the kid you just don't want to be hanging out with," he said.

Williford was found guilty of felony breaking and entering in 2001 and breaking and entering in 1998. In the latter case, the homeowner says he made calls to phone-sex lines and left feces on the floor.

His musician friends have said that say he had recently been working in his home recording studio in the weeks since Taft's death and that he acted like nothing was wrong.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • fatchanceimwrong Apr 22, 2010

    Rev, I'm just seeking the truth and there are some things about this case that have been reported as being very odd with no explanation. I'm curious...why do you and others get so worked up over someone asking about unexplained details in the case? So far, all that's been done is that the police have filed charges against someone. That doesn't mean that the case is closed. Im not insinuating that the sister was involved or at fault, just looking for answers to things that are interesting and unexplained about the case. So no, I won't give it up...you give it up..(here's me with my thumbs in my ears, fingers waving and my tongue sticking out)

  • prn13norm Apr 22, 2010

    I hope you mean by his being "unstable" that we will have to hang Eve Carson's killers with him to balance things out!

  • Adelinthe Apr 22, 2010

    fatchanceimwrong - "Has any explanation come out as to the baggie corners found in the house? Or what was going on with the sister locking her keys in the car at a store that was not open? Or the change in the sister's statement that later said she heard footsteps in the house? These were reported on earlier but no explanation has been given."

    Give it up already.

    The police are satisfied.

    Give it up.

    Unless you think this woman was RAPED BY HER OWN SISTER.


    God bless.


  • makeitright Apr 22, 2010

    The lawyers are already setting the stage here. If this guy is proven to have done it.. The chair... But 12 years from now a millions later, this will still be ongoing.

  • Adelinthe Apr 22, 2010

    And here starts the plea for mercy.


    God bless.


  • itsmyownopinion Apr 22, 2010

    "itsmyownopinion I don't understand? Why would it matter if he is listed as the father on the child's birth certificate?"
    April 21, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    It doesn't. I just wanted the story clarified, and it has been. He is not the father of the child in question, as was shown in a later update.

  • iamyeary Apr 22, 2010

    2 words...Ya Think?

    But sometimes what we think does not get posted here....just say'in.. Justice for Kathy, and some explanations are still needed for specific time lines and specific statements made and reported.

  • lost in translation Apr 22, 2010

    "Lost, I gotta ask you, what does the Governor have to do with this? Isn't that stretching politics a bit?"

    Middle of Road...the problem is when our leaders (ie..Bev and Mike) "showcase" prisoners, who have been convicted of murder, in the Governor's mansion using them as political pawns to demonstrate they are some "use" to society then I have an issue. That environment demonstrates to our judges and juries that it is OK to allow criminals with a murder rap to get out in five years. That is the left leaning mentality communicating that it is OK for our society to be lenient to those who have committed the worst of crimes. It is them who chose to use politics (their office) as a means to impart their social leanings on the public. My advice Mr. Middle of the Road is to get off the fence and get some backbone, take a stand for what is correct whether it be left or right. If you continue to sit on the fence you might find yourself impaled.

  • fatchanceimwrong Apr 22, 2010

    Has any explanation come out as to the baggie corners found in the house? Or what was going on with the sister locking her keys in the car at a store that was not open? Or the change in the sister's statement that later said she heard footsteps in the house? These were reported on earlier but no explanation has been given.

  • Chole Apr 22, 2010

    Thank God he is off the streets!!!