The Oklahoma man who beheaded his co-worker inside a food processing plant has been given the death penalty. Alton Nolen was sentenced to death on Friday morning, just two months after a jury recommended it as his fate.
"May God have mercy on your soul," Judge Walkley said after dooming Nolen to his death.
Nolen, 33, was convicted in October for the first-degree murder of Colleen Hufford, whom he killed in 2014 at Vaughan Foods. Before he was sentenced for the actual murder, Nolen was also hit with three life sentences for assault and battery charges, KOKH reported.
In the incident, Nolen also attacked other co-workers, including Traci Johnson, whom he stabbed.
She survived the attack and was quoted in October as saying, “Mr. Nolen, I don't understand why you did what you did to me and Colleen and the other gentlemen, but that was wrong and you know it was. I pray for you."
His attorney had argued that Nolen was intellectually disabled, according to Fox25. He also claimed his client was insane at the time of the killing. But, a jury ruled against those claims.
Nolen told police that he beheaded Hufford because he suffered feelings of oppression as a Muslim. After violently murdering his co-worker, he was stopped by the plant’s owner at the time, Mark Vaughn. The owner shot Nolen. Later, Nolen confessed that he likely would have killed other peers if he hadn’t been shot. Nolen also reportedly said he didn’t regret the beheading. In fact, he allegedly said that he thought his actions were right, based on how he interpreted the Quran.
In October, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Masburn said that Nolen wanted the death penalty, at least at one point during the investigation.
"He wants it, because he thinks something good is waiting for him on the other side. Give it to him, and let him find out," Mashburn told the jury during the trial’s closing statements, Oklahoma’s News 4 reported.
The judge credited the victims of Nolen’s attack and their family for showing bravery in the courtroom.
Hufford’s daughter Kelli Baranek is looking forward to finally having some closure in her mother’s horrific murder.
“I won’t lie. There were days it was really hard to sit there very quiet and understand it’s all part of the process, but I also knew this day would come and here we are,” she said.
[Photo: Cleveland County Justice Center]