Alton Nolen allegedly attacked two co-workers after being fired from his job at a food processing plant last year

By Tara Fowler
Updated October 28, 2015 02:30 PM
Credit: Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman/AP

A man who allegedly beheaded his coworker at a food processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma, last year has been deemed fit to stand trial by a judge who heard opposing testimony from psychologists.

A clinical psychologist hired by the defense testified Tuesday that 31-year-old Alton Nolen, who is charged with first-degree murder, is not competent to stand trial because he wants to die.

Dr. Anita Russell said in court that Nolen, a Muslim convert, told her: “Death is nothing. We all have to die. … This world is something to be enjoyed briefly,” according to The Oklahoman.

She added: “He won’t consider any kind of defenses. He’s saying, ‘I’ll take the death penalty’ – that’s it. He’s unable or unwilling to consult with counsel.”

But a state psychologist disagreed, saying that Nolen is capable of helping his attorneys if he wants to, the Associated Press reports.

Judge Lori Walkley agreed with the state Wednesday, deeming Nolan fit for a jury trial and ordering legal proceedings to resume in the case, according to The Norman Transcript.

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Another co-worker was injured in the attack that claimed the life of Colleen Hufford, 54. Police said at the time that Nolen had been terminated from his job at the plant just before he assaulted his colleagues with a knife.

Nolen had recently started trying to convince his co-workers to convert to Islam before he was fired, according to police.

A not guilty plea has been entered on Nolen’s behalf.