RALEIGH – The sixth week of jury selection begins Monday in the trial of the man accused of killing state Board of Education member Kathy Taft.
Jason Williford, 32, is charged with murder, rape and burglary. So far, attorneys have selected 12 jurors and two alternate jurors. They hope to find two more alternate jurors.
The process is taking longer than usual because Taft was a well-known public figure in North Carolina. Many people closely followed the details surrounding her death and attorneys want to make sure they find a jury that can be fair and impartial.
Taft's sister found the 62-year-old unresponsive at a friend's home in Raleigh in March 2010. Investigators say she was unconscious and suffered a laceration to the back of her head.
The state says a cigarette butt from Williford can be matched to DNA from the scene of the crime. The defense plans to question the way investigators found the cigarette and how it was examined.
Authorities don't think Taft and Williford knew one another.
Williford has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.