Attorneys Say Oklahoma Man Was Insane When He Beheaded Co-Worker

NORMAN, Okla. (CN) –  Attorneys for Alton Nolen said Monday that he was insane when he beheaded a co-worker at an Oklahoma food-processing plant, days after prosecutors played recordings of him calmly admitting to the killing.

Nolen, 32, is charged with the first-degree murder of Colleen Hufford in September 2014, at a Vaughn Foods plant in Norman. The killing made national headlines because, aside from its gruesome nature, Nolen, who is black, had converted to Islam, and Hufford, 54, was a white woman. Nolen allegedly killed Hufford in retaliation for being suspended when she complained about racial remarks he made while the two were on an assembly line. Nolen allegedly told her “I beat Caucasians” during an argument.

Prosecutors called their final witnesses on Wednesday and the trial recessed for the following two days. In recordings played for the jury Wednesday, Nolen is heard telling police investigators that the killing was justified because he felt “oppressed” as a Muslim.

“She just, you know, wanted to bring me down, like I couldn’t be me as a Muslim,” he said. “She want to bring me down low to the ground.”

Nolen admitted that he had watched videos on YouTube depicting beheadings all the time, The Oklahoman newspaper reported.

Nolen denied investigator questions over whether he was influenced by Muslims he knew from mosques or that he met in prison.

“Like I say, the Quran is easy to understand,” he said. “No one guides me but Allah.”

Nolen said he felt no remorse for the attack.

“I don’t feel regret because what I done, that’s probably going to make Vaughan Foods a better place to work at, if somebody was to come there who was a Muslim,” he said. “I don’t regret it at all.”

Nolen said he was sure he “was going to heaven” if he had died during the killing. He was shot and wounded by a company executive, stopping a subsequent attack on Traci Johnson, 46.

“He wouldn’t stop,” Johnson testified on Sept. 18. “He was just going back and forth like he was cutting up a piece of meat. I did not know what to do or think.”

Johnson testified that she needed surgery to repair damage to her jugular vein. She sustained severe cuts to her face, neck and finger.

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