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State v. Williford

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

January 6, 2015

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
JASON KEITH WILLIFORD

Heard in the Court of Appeals: August 13, 2014.

Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 7 June 2012 by Judge Paul G. Gessner in Wake County Superior Court, Nos. 10 CRS 225; 5855-56.

Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Anne M. Middleton, for the State.

Law Offices of John R. Mills NPC, by John R. Mills, for defendant-appellant.

CALABRIA, Judge. Judges ELMORE and STEPHENS concur.

OPINION

Page 140

CALABRIA, Judge.

Jason Keith Williford (" defendant" ) appeals from judgments entered upon jury verdicts finding him guilty of first degree murder, first degree rape, and misdemeanor breaking and entering. We find no error.

Page 141

I. Background

Late in the evening on 5 March 2010, defendant broke into the home of John Geil (" Geil" ) in Raleigh, North Carolina. On that date, Kathy Taft (" Taft" ) and her sister, Dina Holton (" Holton" ), were staying in Geil's home while Taft recovered from a recent surgery. Geil was out of town, and so the two women were in his home alone.

Defendant entered Taft's bedroom and struck her in the head with a blunt object multiple times. He then removed her clothing and raped her before exiting the home. Holton heard noises in the house during the night, but did not discover what had happened to Taft until the next morning.

In the morning on 6 March 2010, Holton went to the bedroom where she had last seen Taft, and she discovered Taft completely nude and bleeding from the head. Holton called 911, and emergency medical services transported Taft to the hospital. At the hospital, a nurse noticed signs of trauma around Taft's vagina and blood on her anus. As a result, hospital personnel collected a rape kit in order to obtain DNA samples. Taft underwent emergency neurosurgery, but ultimately died from her head wounds on 9 March 2010.

The DNA samples from the rape kit were tested and determined to contain male DNA. As a result, law enforcement officers from the Raleigh Police Department (" RPD" ) canvassed the area around Geil's home and attempted to obtain DNA samples from male residents. When RPD Detective Zeke Morris (" Det. Morris" ) reached the home of defendant, who lived nearby, defendant did not invite Det. Morris inside, as all of his neighbors had done, but only spoke briefly with him. Det. ...


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