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Lawyers open trial of NC schools murder victim

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A Raleigh man accused in the death of a member of North Carolina’s State Board of Education is going on trial for his life.

Opening arguments are scheduled for today in the trial of 32-year-old Jason Williford. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped and battered 62-year-old Kathy Taft. Williford could face the death penalty if convicted.

The Greenville resident and grandmother was recovering from surgery at a friend’s Raleigh home when she was killed in March 2010.

Williford was arrested the following month after police say DNA evidence on a cigarette butt they found linked him to the crime. His attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have that evidence thrown out, arguing police should have obtained a search warrant before picking up the evidence.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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