Perdue tells crime victims of her personal pain

April 21, 2010 4:02:40 PM PDT
It may seem like crime is all around us these days and that means that there are many crime victims out there.

Wednesday, they were honored in Raleigh during a ceremony for Crime Victim's Rights Week.

The gathering of victims and their families heard from Kevin Blaine, the father of Jenna Neilsen who was murdered at a Raleigh gas station almost three years ago.

The crime is still unsolved.

They also heard about the highest profile case in the Capital City - the murder of Kathy Taft - from the state's highest ranking official.

Throughout her career in politics, Governor Beverly Perdue has always been a strong advocate for crime victims. But now, she not only has sympathy, but empathy.

"For the last two months it's been up-front, close and personal to me," she said.

Perdue's good friend, state school board member Kathy Taft, was murdered in early March.

"I have begun to wonder how many years it will take or if ever that family will totally recover from a senseless act, some say a random act," said Perdue.

At the ceremony marking Crime Victims Week, Perdue thanked Raleigh police for their hard work that resulted in the arrest of Jason Williford.

Williford lives around the corner from the house on Cartier drive where Taft was brutally beaten and raped.

"Even a conviction and a penalty will not ever take away the hurt from this family. Just as a conviction never took away the hurt from your families," said Perdue.

Police struggled for weeks to find a suspect, then nabbed Williford when he threw out a cigarette butt, and they got a DNA match.

Perdue says his DNA should have already been on file from previous break-ins, and now she'll push for a law to take suspects' DNA when they're arrested.

"I think that's the right thing to do. I think that's no more invasive than taking somebody's fingerprints," said the Governor.

The idea is controversial, but would have helped in the Taft case.

Perdue also told crime victims and their families that although North Carolina's death penalty is under a moratorium, she wants to reinstate it as soon as possible.

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