she told jurors.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn, though, told the jury the evidence will show Nolen made choices in carrying out the attack that prove he knew what he was doing was wrong.
“This defendant was purposeful and deliberate,” the prosecutor said in his opening statement. “He was clear in his thoughts and intent.”
The prosecutor pointed out that Nolen waited to begin his attack until after a security guard left for the day. He also pointed out Nolen hid the murder weapon, a knife, in a sock to sneak back into the food plant after being suspended.
Nolen, 33, is charged with first-degree murder and five assault counts. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could be sentenced to life in prison, life without the possibility of parole or death.
If found not guilty by reason of insanity, Nolen would be sent to the state’s mental facility in Vinita, possibly for the rest of his life.
Three years since attack
He is accused in the murder count of beheading co-worker Colleen Hufford inside Vaughan Foods on Sept. 25, 2014, shortly after he was suspended for making racial remarks. She was 54.
The district attorney called the victim “one of the most kind and caring ladies that you’ll ever meet.” He called Nolen’s attack on her ferocious and brutal.
The district attorney also revealed to jurors that the evidence will show Nolen attacked her by mistake. The district attorney said Nolen mistook Hufford for another woman who had bumped into him days before by accident.
Using gestures, Mashburn demonstrated to jurors how Nolen attacked Hufford from behind and drew the knife across her neck. “She gasps and starts fighting for her life,” the district attorney said.
Nolen is accused in three of the assault counts of fighting off coworkers who tried to stop him. The district attorney told jurors Nolen went back each time to sawing the victim’s neck.
“He will not be deterred. He is there to behead his oppressors,” Mashburn said.
Nolen is accused in the other assault counts of trying to behead another co-worker, Traci Johnson, and of charging with a knife at the company’s chief operating officer.
Acting like he was pointing a rifle, the district attorney told jurors the company executive, Mark Vaughan, a reserve Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputy, fired three times. One shot grazed Nolen, one shot missed and one shot hit, stopping him, the district attorney said.
Mashburn said Johnson had been working at the plant only a few days.
Jurors to see photos
After the opening statements, District Judge Lori Walkley went over with prosecutors and defense attorneys what photos jurors will be allowed to see.
The judge ruled jurors will be able to see one photo of the victim’s severed head at the plant. Defense attorneys had complained that photo was too prejudicial and unnecessary.
The trial is expected to last three to four more weeks. The judge started the trial early, beginning jury selection Sept. 8.
Jury selection was completed Thursday. Eight men and four women were chosen to serve. There are three alternates.
Jurors were told by the defense that Nolen wanted to plead guilty and get the death penalty.
Nolen actually did plead guilty last year to first-degree murder and two of the assault counts. The judge put off accepting the plea until she resolved questions at a hearing in April about his mental state.
After ruling on the mental issues, the judge was prepared to decide his punishment herself. However, by law, Nolen had to acknowledge in court he stood by his guilty plea. He refused to even talk to or look at the judge so she ordered a jury trial instead.
She gave him another chance last week to stand by his guilty plea but he again refused to talk to her.
Sandra Allen picks up her order at Urb Express during the opening day of the 2017 Oklahoma State Fair in Oklahoma City. Urb Express won the Great Taste of a Fair food award with its Honey Bacon Pepper Dog.
The Honey Pepper Bacon Dog from The Urb Express was named FAIRest of All dishes in the Great Taste of a Fair competition on Wednesday. The Urb Express is operated by Chickasha’s Josh Woods and Zachary Grayson.
The Frozen Hot Chocolate from A Latte Love won the Sweetest of the Sweet category of the Great Taste of a Fair competition at the 2017 Oklahoma State Fair.
Bob Akerman and his sister Lou Hooper enjoy the Honey Bacon Pepper Dog from Urb Express on Thursday during the opening day of the 2017 Oklahoma State Fair in Oklahoma City.
Irish Breakfast Tacos from St. Paddy’s Cakes were named best new dish at this year’s Oklahoma State Fair in the Great Taste of a Fair competition.
The Urb Express won the 2017 Great Taste of a Fair food award for its Honey Bacon Pepper Dog.