The food plant worker accused of beheading his coworker with a large butcher knife in 2014 has been found guilty of first degree murder in the horrific attack.
Jurors deliberated for roughly two hours before convicting Alton Nolen, 33, in the death of 54-year-old Colleen Hufford, according to the New York Daily News.
He was also convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon because he attempted to kill another coworker, Traci Johnson, by stabbing her with a kitchen knife at the Vaughan Foods plant outside of Oklahoma City.
The 43-year-old survived.
The gruesome attack was described by one witness as ‘something that people shouldn’t have to see,’ and prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors presented a damning recording during the trial – in which Nolen confesses to the attacks while in the hospital.
In the tapes he can be heard saying he doesn’t ‘regret it at all,’ referring to his victims as ‘oppressors’ who ‘don’t need to be here.’
His attorneys claim he is mentally ill and that he acted on delusions and misinterpretations of the Quran. Before the brutal attack Nolen allegedly started trying to convert his fellow employees to Islam.
Psychologist Jeanne Russell backed up that claim when she testified on Tuesday, to say that the 33-year-old was mentally ill at the time of the attack and is only getting sicker.
Prosecutors though said that he could not use mental illness as a way out, and that he knew right from wrong before attacking the two women.
‘Psychosis doesn’t pop up when it’s convenient,’ Assistant District Attorney Susan Caswell said, according to KFOR.
‘That’s not how mental illness works.’
Gary Hazelrigg witnessed the attack and testified during the trial to say Hufford was ‘completely’ surprised when Nolen attacked her.
He explained that Nolen, who had just been suspended from his job, walked into the company’s administrative office, came up behind Hufford, pulled her head back and then drew a knife across her throat.
Nolen then stabbed Johnson before being shot by a company executive.
Hazelrigg told jurors he screamed and cursed at Nolen and attempted to pull him off of Hufford, but was unsuccessful.
‘I was looking at something horrific – something that people shouldn’t have to see,’ Hazelrigg said.
During the trial Nolen attempted to plead guilty on multiple occasions, even going so far as to ask to be executed, but the Cleveland County DIstrict Judge Lori Walkley declined his plea.
At one hearing in 2016 Nolen repeatedly told a judge that he wouldn’t accept life in prison or without possibility of parole, and that he would only accept a death sentence.
The judge had to remind him that if he pleaded guilty and waived his right to a jury , his sentence would be decided by a judge and not by him.
After the verdict was announced on Friday, Hufford’s daughter Kelli released a written statement on behalf of the family.
Kelli said the decision helped her family move towards closure.
‘This has been a long road for my family and me,’ she said in the statement.
‘We are thankful the jury found guilty of murder. All of us now hope for a swift sentencing process concluding with the death penalty for this killer.’