A man accused of beheading a woman in Oklahoma will be charged Monday, authorities said.
Charges against Alton Alexander Nolen will include first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Jeremy Lewis, spokesman for the Moore police department.
Nolen, a recent convert to Islam, allegedly attacked a woman Thursday at a Vaughan Foods processing plant, soon after he learned he’d lost his job there.
Police said he walked into the front office and attacked one of the first people he encountered, Colleen Hufford, 54. He severed her head with a knife and then attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson. Johnson is in stable condition at a nearby hospital for treatment of “numerous wounds,” according to police.
Mark Vaughan, the company CEO and a reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, confronted and twice shot Nolen, authorities said.
Nolen, 30, was interviewed by investigators on Friday. Police have not revealed what he said.
Suspect’s Facebook page focused on Islam
Nolen’s Facebook page uses the name Jah’Keem Yisrael. The cover photo appears to be of fighters holding weapons. The postings include numerous all-caps messages about Islam and quotations from the Quran.
There’s no reference to job dissatisfaction, and no indication he planned an attack.
Some postings are political, such as one that runs with an image of the Joker, from “Batman” comics: “AMERICA SO CALL HELPS IRAQ (WHICH NOT)- WELL WHY CANT U HELP THE GAZA CITIZENS AGAINST ISRAEL LOL..I UPLOAD THIS PIK BECAUSE AMERICA AND ISRAEL ARE WICKED. WAKE UP MUSLIMS!!!”
CNN confirmed with Moore police that the Facebook page and the images belong to Nolen.
No terrorism link found
Nolen had tried to convert co-workers to Islam, officials said.
U.S. law enforcement officials said there are no indications linking Thursday’s attack to terrorism. In the Middle East, ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has drawn world attention with videotaped beheadings.
In a Facebook video posted by Megan Nolan, two women who say they are Nolan’s mother and sister apologize for his actions.
“I want to apologize to both families, because this is not Alton,” said the woman who calls Nolan “my son.” She says her son was a good kid.
“I know what they’re saying what he did, but I’m gonna tell you this, that’s not my son,” she says. “My heart’s bleeding right now.”
The woman who identifies herself as Nolan’s sister says he’s never been a violent person.
“For something like this to have happened, we’re all still in shock right now,” she says. “We’re praying for both of the victims’ families, and I ask that everyone keep us in their prayers.”
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches issued a statement Saturday urging “all Oklahomans and people everywhere not to equate Mr. (Nolen’s) actions with the beliefs and practices of the Islamic Community in Oklahoma.”
“The Islamic Community of Oklahoma has consistently condemned all violence — most especially acts of violence ostensibly carried out in the name of Islam,” the statement said. “Along with our Muslim brothers and sisters we affirm that true Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace and that those inflicting violence in the name of Islam are perverting Islam for their own ends.”
National Muslim organizations have made similar statements as ISIS’ brutality has come to light.
A 2011 Pew Research poll found that one in five Muslim-Americans believes there is either a great deal or fair amount of support for extremism in the Muslim-American community.
Nearly half said Muslim leaders in the United States had not done enough to speak out against extremism, while a third said Muslim leaders had done enough.
Eighty-one percent said suicide bombings and other violence against civilians to defend Islam are never justified.
Officer: I ‘would have killed him’
Nolen was incarcerated until March 2013 for possession of a controlled substance, escaping confinement and resisting an officer.
CNN affiliate KOKI reported Nolen was arrested in 2006 when an officer saw him throw a bag of crack cocaine and a bag of marijuana out of a vehicle window as the officer pulled him over for traffic violations.
Nolen was put on probation, KOKI reported. In 2010, a state trooper stopped Nolen for an expired tag and discovered he had outstanding warrants, KOKI reported.
The trooper, Betsy Randolph, told CNN on Saturday that Nolen started struggling after she put a handcuff on one wrist. Nolen ran and was arrested after a 12-hour manhunt.
“He kept looking over his shoulder because he knew I wanted to shoot him, but obviously I couldn’t shoot him in the back,” Randolph told CNN. “If there had been any way to know the things he is alleged to have done a few days ago I would have killed him when I had a chance.”
A spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, Alex Weintz, noted the governor had blocked Nolen from receiving parole in 2012.
Weintz said Saturday: “The suspect came up for parole in 2012 and the governor denied his parole. She reviewed his file and didn’t think that he was a good candidate for early parole.”