Judge Allows DNA Evidence In Kathy Taft Murder Suspect's Trial

A Wake County judge ruled this morning that prosecutors can use DNA evidence taken from a cigarette butt in the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing Kathy Taft.

Lawyers for Jason Williford of Raleigh asked Judge Paul Gessner on Monday to toss out the DNA evidence in the man's trial.

Williford is accused of raping and killing the State Board of Education member nearly two years ago. The Greenville woman was house-sitting at a friend's home in Raleigh after undergoing minor cosmetic surgery.

The man's attorney said police should have obtained a search warrant for the cigarette butt that Williford threw away in an apartment parking lot. But prosecutors and the judge agreed that the area was a public space that didn't need a warrant.

Williford also pleaded not guilty during Tuesday's hearing. The judge also agreed to delay the man's trial until April 9th after defense attorneys complained about not having enough time to go through DNA reports and other evidence.


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  • by Shine Location: NE NC on Feb 22, 2012 at 01:57 AM
    Finding evidence in a homicide, or thought murder does not warrant the opportunity to NOT collect evidence. DNA is some of the best and proven. I guess they are court appointed atty's for this guy and by 'oath' they have to - represent him. Hey ...... hey - if not guilty ----- the DNA would get him off the hook. Anyone the has to 'lawyer up' in the begining ------ something is automatically wrong.
    • reply
      by c-had on Feb 22, 2012 at 04:07 PM in reply to Shine
      There is nothing wrong with "lawyering up" as you call it as it is your constitutional right and in NO WAY means there is something "automatically" wrong.Although this guy, if guilty, is a dirtbag.
  • by Anon Location: Gville on Feb 21, 2012 at 04:33 PM
    The defense lawyer is grasping at straws with that argument. He's doing his job, but if this is any indication of their defense strategy, his goose is cooked. And if his DNA is at the crime scene, stick a fork in him, he's done.
  • by Clifton Location: Washington on Feb 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM
    I wonder why with cases such as this, the PD's don't stick every charge available, much like they do with DWI's, hit and runs, drugs and other cases where they seem to overcharge the subject?
  • by LEO Location: G-ville on Feb 21, 2012 at 01:32 PM
    From the information I read this man should have been charged for littering. Wonder if that ever crossed his attorney's mind
  • by Anonymous on Feb 21, 2012 at 11:54 AM
    I know the man's attorney was only doing his job, but come on. It's criminal law 101; the parking lot of an apartment complex is a public vehicular area. There is NO expectation of privacy there WHATSOEVER! Not to mention the loss of any expectation of privacy for discarded property/trash.
    • reply
      by I agree on Feb 22, 2012 at 04:13 PM in reply to
      The defense attorney was grasping at straws. Good for him, he is doing his job. However, a PVA is public place. No reasonable expectation of privacy there.
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