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Trial set to begin for man accused of beheading coworker in Moore

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MOORE, Okla. – The trial for a man accused of beheading a former coworker is set to begin on Monday.

On Sept. 25, 2014, authorities say Alton Nolen stabbed 54-year-old Colleen Hufford multiple times and beheaded her inside the Vaughan Foods distribution center.

After attacking Hufford, Nolen is accused of stabbing 43-year-old Traci Johnson numerous times before being shot by Mark Vaughan, the former CEO of the company and a reserve sheriff’s deputy.

Hufford died from her injuries, but Johnson survived.

Courtesy: Hufford Family

Nolen was eventually charged with murder and several other felony counts in the case.

Nolen’s attorneys claimed that he was not competent to stand trial, adding that he wanted to be put to death and was not helping them create a defense.

However, a judge ruled that Nolen was competent enough to stand trial for the charges.

“The evidence indicated that he was able to graduate from high school, play interscholastic sports, gain admission to and attend college, socialize and communicate effectively, work, make efforts to seek higher employment, undertake religious studies, plan and execute goals and live independently. Therefore, it is the finding of this Court that Defendant does not meet the statutory definition of mental retardation,” the judge wrote.

Alton Nolen mugshot

Last year, Nolen attempted to plead guilty but Judge Lori Walkley refused to accept the plea until he underwent a competency hearing.

During that competency hearing in April, Nolen had to be removed from the courtroom when he jumped from his seat and began resisting deputies.

After he was found competent, Nolen refused to reaffirm his guilty plea, which sent the case to trial.

“He wouldn’t even acknowledge any questions being posed to him at that time, so we couldn’t go forward with the guilty plea this morning,” said Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn.

The trial is set to begin on Monday morning, and officials say Nolen will be able to plead guilty any time during the trial.

Alton Nolen leaves court