NORMAN, Okla. — A Muslim man from Oklahoma who beheaded his coworker three years ago after being suspended from the job told investigators that Allah “wants us to get the oppressors out,” as per recorded audio played during his trial on Wednesday.
He said that he acted out because he felt he was being treated differently by his coworkers because he is a follower of Islam. “I don’t feel regret, because you know what I’ve done,” Nolen stated. “That’s probably going to make Vaughan Foods a better place to work for a Muslim.”
In Sept. 2014, days following his suspension from Vaughan Foods over alleged comments about Caucasians, Nolen entered the front office, where he encountered Colleen Huffort and began attacking her with a knife.
“He did kill Colleen and did sever her head,” police spokesperson Jeremy Lewis stated in a press release following the incident.
Nolen then began attacking coworker Traci Johnson who caught the attention of others in the building with her screaming. One of those who heard Johnson’s cries for help was Chief Operating Officer Mark Vaughn, who also served as an Oklahoma county reserve deputy. Being armed at the time, he shot Nolen, saving Johnson’s life.
“This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it,” Lewis remarked. “It could have gotten a lot worse.”
Others in the building locked themselves in their offices and called 911. Police arrived on the scene minutes later.
Nolen was hospitalized and was interviewed by police while in the hospital.
On Wednesday, Johnson was one of those who testified in court for the prosecution. She explained that she heard Huffort screaming like bloody murder and hurried to see what was wrong.
“When I saw the defendant, I was frozen,” she said. “I couldn’t move. And I saw the knife with the blood, … 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.”
“He wouldn’t stop,” Johnson recalled. “He was just going back and forth like he was cutting a piece of meat.” The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday, when the defense will be provided the opportunity to make their case. They believe Nolen should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
“It’s all in the context of what legally insane means. And that is [if Nolen] didn’t know the difference between right and wrong, and didn’t know the consequences of his actions,” Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told News9. “And clearly he knew what he did was wrong.”
Reports state that Nolen has a criminal past as he was convicted in 2011 on drug charges and for assaulting a police officer. He spent two years behind bars for his crimes before being released on probation. His Facebook page also was stated to contain “provocative” content that is Islamic in nature and critical of the United States.
[written by Heather Clark]