One can only hope that Kathy Tafts family will take some measure of comfort in the absolute truth of her gruesome murder coming out, rather than having facts in dispute and details emerging during the trial of her killer.
Thats hardly a positive thought, but what else could be said about the heinous crime to which Jason Williford, who raped and killed Taft in March of 2010, has admitted? It was, police have concluded, a random act of violence.
Williford, a troubled man with a history of substance abuse and psychological problems, walked through his neighborhood (he lived with his wife in an apartment) and entered a home on Cartier Drive inside Raleighs Beltline, which happened to be where Kathy Taft, of Greenville, was recuperating from minor neck surgery. The home was owned by a friend.
She was found beaten and bloodied on March 6, and died three days later.
Some 41 days passed before Williford, an unemployed musician, was arrested. The murder drew much attention because Taft, 62, was from a prominent family and was a member of the State Board of Education.
In those days before Willifords arrest, police took a lot of heat as they obtained DNA samples from several people and took care to make sure Williford was their man. Their investigation has been vindicated by Willifords admission in court, and they are due much credit for the methods and competence in the job they did. They also showed patience under pressure.
Williford, 32, appears to have lived a most troubled life, and hes now in court with attorneys trying to spare him from the death penalty.
There must be much pain in this proceeding for Tafts family. How much they can bear only they know. But at least the amateur speculation, the theories are now silenced. Taft was an innocent victim of random violence, violence done for reasons only in the twisted brain of Jason Williford.
Kathy Tafts life was fully lived, and she was cherished by her loved ones. She was a public servant. She earned her prominence in the state. Her cruel end does not change any of that.