Defense attorneys for Moore beheading suspect begin case

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NORMAN, Okla. - Defense attorneys for beheading suspect Alton Nolen began their case Monday morning, three years to the date of a horrific workplace attack.

Nolen stands accused of beheading former coworker Colleen Hufford and stabbing Traci Johnson in September 2014 inside Vaughan Foods.

Hufford died from her injuries, however Johnson survived.

Dr. Robert Hunt, a professor of religion at Southern Methodist University, was one of the witnesses the defense called to the stand Monday. He was asked to testify on behalf of Nolen's past interviews with investigators, where he admitted to beheading Hufford because he felt oppressed.

Nolen justified his actions to investigators, claiming he was a practicing Muslim and believed his actions were correct by the Quran.

Hunt testified a "striking of the neck" is mentioned in the Quran; however, beheading for personal oppression is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran. He also added Nolen seemed to be "cobbling" different religions to come up with his beliefs.

The defense has argued Nolen did not know what he was doing in September 2014 was wrong, as he is mentally ill. Dr. Antoinette McGarrahan, a licensed psychiatrist of 17 years, testified Monday she diagnosed Nolen with schizophrenia during her evaluations of him.

According to McGarrahan, Nolen was easily distracted, would ramble and was often agitated during their encounters. 

The state called more than 20 witnesses to the stand during their presentation of evidence, including Johnson who recalled the attack in graphic detail. Most of the witnesses were asked whether they have seen Nolen hallucinate or appear to hear voices, all of whom answered "no".

In court Monday, McGarrahan testified not having hallucinations did not indicate not having a mental illness. 

In a past interview, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told reporters this trial was going to be heavily focused on the definition of "legally insane".

Court will resume Tuesday morning with the state's cross examination of McGarrahan.

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