NORMAN, Okla. -- State prosecutors are expected to present expert witnesses Friday in the penalty phase of trial for a convicted murderer after a brief legal snag.
Alton Nolen, 33, is facing the death penalty for beheading his coworker Colleen Hufford inside Vaughan Foods in September 2014. Jurors have been tasked with first determining whether or not he is intellectually disabled before moving forward.
On Thursday, Judge Lori Walkley adjourned court at 1:30 p.m. citing a "snag", giving the defense team more time with Dr. Jarrod Steffan, a neuropsychologist and expert witness for the state.
Prior to adjournment Thursday, Dr. Steffan began his testimony and told the court he had concerns over errors in testing conducted on Nolen by Dr. Anita Jeanne Russell. The Tulsa-based psychologist met with Nolen in 2015 and served as an expert witness for the defense, testifying she believed he is living with an intellectual disability.
Along with Dr. Steffan, state prosecutors plan to present Dr. Shawn Roberson as an expert witness. Both testified in Phase 1 of trial, telling the court they did not believe Nolen suffered from a mental illness.
In this phase of trial, defense attorneys presented six witnesses total.
Even with a half-day delay, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said there's a chance the jury will be able to deliberate on the intellectual disability portion of the penalty phase Friday.