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.