NORMAN, Okla. - After a jury handed down a recommendation of the death sentence to Alton Nolen, convicted of beheading a woman and viciously attacking others, family and a surviving victim expressed intense relief.
Nolen was found guilty of first-degree murder after he killed coworker Colleen Hufford, and attacking five others, including Traci Johnson who he stabbed 41 times.
The incident happened in 2013 at Vaughan Foods in Moore.
Now those involved are ready for an end to the nightmare.
"All the emotions that you held in for three years are finally able to break free," said Hufford's daughter, Kelli Beranek. "Might be able to breathe a little bit more."
Beranek said this is the first step into freedom for victims and their loved ones.
"I think she would be more relieved for the remaining victims," Beranek said of her mother, "who had to live with the mental images that they've had to live with for three years now."
No more will Traci Johnson live in fear of her attacker.
"I've been scared this whole three years because I've been thinking, 'Ok, he`s going to do something else. He's going to get out, he's going to do something else to me,'" Johnson said. "Now he can't do anything else to anybody."
District Attorney Greg Mashburn said Nolen's continued stoic demeanor after the jury handed down the death sentence was not surprising.
"He was done. He didn't care what anyone was going to do," Mashburn said. "He was just going to sit over there and let the criminal justice system do its part."
When asked if she had anything she wanted to say to Nolen, Beranek didn't think twice.
"Absolutely nothing," she said.
She's ready to put away the haunting ordeal for good.
"Now we can finally just all be free," Beranek said. "We can move on. We can all start remembering her as a person instead of her in this situation."