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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Doctor Says Accused Killer Wants to Die

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - The Muslim convert accused of beheading a coworker and nearly beheading a second wants to plead guilty and be executed, a psychologist testified Monday at his competency trial.

Jeanne Russell testified Monday that Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, of Norman, wishes to accept the death penalty because of his religious beliefs.

She cited a "major deficit" in his "intellectual functioning" that she noticed in seven hours of interviews and tests conducted on May 28 and June 30.

Nolen scored 62 and 69 on IQ tests and is mentally retarded, Russell testified.

Nolen is charged with first-degree murder, four counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

He is accused of killing 54-year-old Colleen Hufford on Sept. 25 last year at a Vaughn Foods processing plant in Moore; trying to behead a second victim, Traci J. Johnson, 44, of Oklahoma City, cutting her throat and face; then trying to stab a company executive, who shot him.

The attacks allegedly were sparked by a complaint Johnson made about Nolen "not liking white people."

State District Judge Lori Walkley ordered the competency trial in September, which is expected to take several days. Nolen will stand trial if found competent by a jury - if not, he will be confined at a state mental health hospital.

Russell testified that Nolen believes "death is nothing" and that "we all have to die ... this world is something to be enjoyed briefly," The Oklahoman newspaper reported.

She told the judge that Nolen is not mentally competent to stand trial because he refuses to help his attorneys prepare a defense. She said Nolen has the communication skills of a 6-year-old child.

"He's not trying to fight it," Russell said. "He's saying, 'I'll take the death penalty. That's it.'"

Russell said out that Nolen's insistence on being punished contradicts the view that he does not see what he did as a crime.

Cleveland County prosecutor Susan Caswell told the judge that Nolen might want death because he expects great rewards for acting in the name of Allah, Russell testified.

She disagreed with the view that Nolen is retarded, saying he graduated 83rd out of 104 students at Idabel High School, in Idabel, Okla., and got As in two college psychology classes before leaving school.

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