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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Defense attorneys have asked a judge to throw out DNA evidence in the death of state school board member Kathy Taft.

Attorney Michael Driver told Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner on Monday the evidence related to a cigarette butt discarded by 32-year-old Jason K. Williford was improperly gathered by police.

Williford is charged in the March 2010 rape and death of Taft at a home in Raleigh.

Driver says police should have obtained a search warrant before picking up the cigarette butt.

Prosecutor Trish Jacobs says the apartment parking lot was a public space and that Williford discarded the cigarette butt in an area that does not require a warrant for a search.

Williford’s trial is scheduled to begin next month.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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