MOORE, Okla. (Reuters) - An Oklahoma man accused of beheading a coworker in 2014 and attacking another had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf at an arraignment on Thursday to charges that include first-degree murder.
Alton Nolen, 31, is accused of stabbing and beheading 54-year-old Colleen Hufford in September 2014 during an attack at Vaughan Foods in Moore, south of Oklahoma City. Prosecutors have said they are seeking the death penalty.
Nolen did not speak at the hearing. He had tried to enter a guilty plea but the judge refused and court records show that a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Prosecutors have said Nolen was suspended from his job at Vaughan Foods when he walked into the company’s administrative office and attacked Hufford, severing her head. He also stabbed another co-worker before he was shot by Vaughan Foods Chief Operating Officer Mark Vaughan, they said.
In October 2015, a Cleveland County judge rejected claims that Nolen was mentally impaired and declared him competent to stand trial.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been examining Nolen’s background for any potential religious ties to the attack after former colleagues said he had tried to convert them to Islam.
Reporting by Heide Brandes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz