Local News

Raleigh man indicted in state school board member's slaying

Posted May 4, 2010 11:30 a.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2010 4:10 p.m. EDT

— A Wake County grand jury on Tuesday indicted a Raleigh man on one count each of first-degree murder, first-degree rape and first-degree burglary in the death of a State Board of Education official.

Jason Keith Williford, 30, of 2812-D Wayland Drive, was arrested April 16 in the March 9 death of Kathy Taft.

Prosecutors have not indicated whether they plan to seek the death penalty against Williford, but charges of rape and burglary could be considered aggravating circumstances if they decide to do so.

Taft, 62, of Greenville, was recovering from plastic surgery at a friend's home on Cartier Drive in Raleigh when she was raped and attacked multiple times with a blunt object to the head, according to an autopsy report.

She died from a fractured skull and extensive brain damage three days after her sister found her bloodied and unresponsive on the morning of March 6.

Sources say police arrested Williford after DNA from a discarded cigarette matched evidence found at the scene of Taft's attack.

Williford is being held without bond at Central Prison in Raleigh. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 10.