Muslim Man's Explanation for Beheading Co-Worker Revealed in Court

Expand | Collapse
(Photo: Mugshot from previous arrest/Reuters/Oklahoma Department of Corrections/Handout)Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, is seen in a picture from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections taken October 18, 2011. Police said Nolen had been fired from the Vaughan Foods processing plant in a suburb of Oklahoma City, September 25, 2014, before he entered a front office and attacked two women. Police said he stabbed 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and severed her head and then stabbed 43-year-old Traci Johnson. The company's chief operating officer, Mark Vaughan, who is also a reserve sheriff's deputy, was the first on the scene and stopped the attack by shooting Nolen.

A Muslim convert's explanation for why he beheaded one co-worker and tried to behead another at an Oklahoma food processing plant in 2014 has finally been revealed in court.

Alton Nolen, 33, who is charged with the beheading of Colleen Hufford and the attempted beheading of Traci Johnson at the Vaughan Foods plant in Moore, Oklahoma, in late September 2014, told police in the days after the incident why he carried out the crimes.

Two audio recordings of Nolen's interviews with police investigators while he was in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds were played for the jury at the Cleveland County Courthouse on Wednesday, according to local news sources.

According to news9.com, the interviews were conducted by local county police detectives and FBI agents.

The news outlet reports that Nolen, who had just been suspended from the plant when he committed the crimes, said he committed the crimes because he felt oppressed as a Muslim worker at Vaughan Foods.

In one of the interviews, Nolen said his interpretation of Islam's holy book, the Quran, taught him that anyone who oppresses him should be beheaded.

KOKH reports that Nolen explained in the interview that he came to his beliefs about the Quran on his own and stressed that no one led him to those conclusions.

According to KOKH, Nolen told investigators that he doesn't regret his actions and that he would have finished beheading the second co-worker if he wasn't shot by the plant's owner, Mark Vaughan.

Additionally, he called Hofford a "slave to the devil" and referred to himself as a "slave to Allah."

"You know the Muslim is somebody who submits their will to Allah. ... Whatever he wants done, that's what we do," Nolen was quoted as saying. "And you know he wants us to get the oppressors out of this place."

Nolen was charged with first-degree murder and assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Nolen's lawyers maintain that he is not guilty on grounds that he is mentally insane. The defense will present its case beginning next Monday.

Earlier this week Johnson and other plant employees testified before the court.

Johnson on Monday provided a first-hand account of what happened to her on that fateful day that she was nearly beheaded. Because of the assault, Johnson suffered damage to her jugular veins, face and fingers.

Johnson told jurors that she was getting ready to leave work at the end of her shift when she heard "bloody murder screaming."

"When I saw the defendant, I was frozen. I couldn't move. And I saw the knife with the blood on the knife and he made a mad dash toward me and pushed me up against the wall and held me up with his forearm against the wall and just started splicing my neck," Johnson explained.

"He was just going back and forth like he was just cutting a piece of meat," she added, according to news9.com.

Johnson allegedly complained to supervisors earlier that day about a racist remark Nolen had said about Caucasians during an altercation they had. He was suspended shortly thereafter.

Co-worker Jeremy Hartman also testified at the hearing on Monday. Hartman, who worked in the same area of the plant as Nolen, recalled the altercation between Johnson and Nolen.

"I could hear him say, "I beat Caucasians,'" Hartman said.

Nolen had previously been imprisoned from 2010 to 2013 after being charged with assault and battery on a police officer when he was pulled over. 

According to CNN, Nolen called himself "Jah-Keem Yisrael" on Facebook, an account he used to post images of Osama bin Laden and even a beheading. 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith
Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP