Man Arrested In Kathy Taft's Murder

Raleigh police say they've arrested a man in Kathy Taft's murder.

Jason Williford, age 30, of Raleigh was arrested.

Taft, a state board of education member from Greenville, died in March, three days after a brutal beating in a Raleigh home.

Police say Williford was arrested Friday afternoon by the Raleigh Police Department and charged with murder and rape in connection with the death of Taft.

Police Chief Harry Dolan said Williford lives in an apartment two-tenths of a mile from where Taft was attacked on March 6.

"I commend everyone in the department who worked to make possible the arrest in the case," said Maj. Rick Grayson, commander of the RPD's Detective Division. "Since the case investigation began on March 6, the department's Homicide Unit, in particular, has worked tirelessly on behalf of the victim, her family and the community to seek justice."

Grayson also expressed gratitude "for the support of the neighborhood surrounding the crime scene and to members of the victim's family for their assistance and confidence. In addition, he praised the forensic work performed by the SBI and CCBI during the investigation."

The department said it anticipates making a statement concerning the case Saturday afternoon. The investigation is continuing.

The NC Department of Corrections website shows Williford was convicted of breaking and entering in 1997 and 2001. Both of those incidents were in Wake County.


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Documents released in the Kathy Taft murder case say police believe the state school board member from Greenville was sexually assaulted.

Taft's sister told a 911 operator that the 62-year-old woman was foaming at the mouth and there was blood everywhere.

A Wake County superior court judge agreed to seal the records into the investigation for 30 days after the March 9th murder.

Also released were two 911 tapes. Taft's sister, Dina Holton, first called 911 believing her sister had complications from plastic surgery done the day before.

Sister: "She had surgery on her neck and her....(unintelligible)

911: "Okay, tell me what's going on with her right now?"

Sister: "She is in the bed, I cannot get her up. She is all wrapped up with a shawl....there is blood everywhere, everywhere.

911: "Is she awake?"

Sister: "No."

911: "No?"

Sister: "Kathy, Kathy...she's foaming at the mouth."

911: "Ok, hold on."

Sister: "I cannot wake her up, oh it's horrible."

Hours later while Taft was at WakeMed, an emergency room employee made the second call to report the possible rape after she was examined.

"The family thinks they might have seen somebody, but they really don't know. We can't ask the patient anything," said the hospital employee.

The 62-year-old Taft was found beaten inside a Raleigh home and died three days later in the hospital.

One of the documents is a search warrant for the car of Taft's sister, Dina Holton, of Oriental. A handwritten note, fingerprints and swabs of DNA were taken from the vehicle.

Police also searched Taft's car. Taft and her sister were staying at the Raleigh home while Taft recovered from a minor surgery.

The court documents say many items were seized from the home, including sheets, pillows, computers, DNA swabs and golf clubs. The warrants show "Taft had a cut on the back of her head" and had been sexually assaulted.

A $25,000 reward was offered by Taft's family.


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