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Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Oklahoma beheading

Is Okla. beheading suspect a terrorist?
Is Okla. beheading suspect a terrorist?

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Is Okla. beheading suspect a terrorist? 02:33

Story highlights

  • Document says crime was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel"
  • Co-worker complained after Nolen spoke of not liking white people, official says
  • FBI involved because suspect "was saying Arabic terms" during attacks, official says
  • Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, is charged with murder, attempted murder, assault
Oklahoma will seek the death penalty for Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, who is charged with first-degree murder in the beheading of a 54-year-old woman at his former workplace, District Attorney Greg Mashburn said in a court document Thursday.
Nolen also faces an attempted murder charge in the stabbing attack on another woman, as well as a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, Mashburn said previously.
Nolen should be punished with death, Thursday's "bill of particulars" states, because his crime was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel," the defendant knowingly put multiple people at "great risk of death," the defendant probably poses a "continuing threat to society," and Nolen was previously convicted of a felony for using or threatening violence.
Mashburn said Sunday that he would probably seek the death penalty after consulting with the victim's family.
Nolen, a recent convert to Islam, is accused of carrying out the attacks last week at a Vaughan Foods processing plant soon after he learned he'd lost his job there.
Alton Alexander Nolen is seen in an image taken from Facebook.
FBI probes beheading suspect's past
FBI probes beheading suspect's past

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FBI probes beheading suspect's past 01:59
Beheading suspect may face death penalty
Beheading suspect may face death penalty

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Beheading suspect may face death penalty 02:15
DA: Beheading suspect wanted revenge
DA: Beheading suspect wanted revenge

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DA: Beheading suspect wanted revenge 04:32
Nolen was trying "to get revenge on certain people he felt responsible" for his job loss, Mashburn said.
The large kitchen knife used in the attack came from Nolen's home, Mashburn said.
The FBI is also investigating the attack because Nolen "was saying Arabic terms in the attack," Mashburn said.
The Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security is also investigating the incident.
"That investigation is still ongoing, and it is unclear at this time whether the crime was an act of terrorism, workplace violence or a gruesome combination of both," Fallin said in a statement.
Police said Nolen walked into the Vaughan Foods front office September 25 and attacked one of the first people he encountered, Colleen Hufford, 54. He severed her head with a knife and then attacked Traci Johnson, 43.
Johnson was one of three people Nolen was targeting, authorities said, and he wasn't able to reach the other two. Hufford was attacked despite not being one of the three intended targets, the prosecutor said.
Court papers said Nolen grabbed Hufford from behind and "immediately began cutting her across the throat with the large knife, with a back and forth sawing motion."
Nolen then grabbed Johnson and "cut her across the throat and left side of her face with the knife" in an attempt at a second beheading, according to a police affidavit.
Mashburn said that while Nolen was employed at the plant, he made statements "saying he didn't like white people," which prompted Johnson to file a complaint with the plant's human resources department.
Mark Vaughan, the company CEO and a reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, confronted and twice shot Nolen, authorities said.
Vaughan arrived at the plant with a rifle and shot Nolen as he was charging with knife in hand, Mashburn said.
In unrelated incidents, Nolen was convicted of assault and battery on a police officer, escape from detention and possession of marijuana, all in January 2011, according to court papers filed by prosecutors.