Vaughan Foods Beheading Trial Runs Into 'Snag'
NORMAN, Oklahoma - This is the fourth week of Alton Nolen’s trial for beheading a woman and assaulting others at Vaughan Foods in Moore in 2014. Nolen admitted to the crime and told FBI agents he felt his victims oppressed him based on his religious beliefs.
On Thursday, Judge Lori Walkley told the jury there was a “snag” in the case. She reassured them she would take care of the situation. Walkley called for recess at 1:30 in the afternoon, telling the jurors to return at 9:00 a.m. on Friday.
The trial is currently in the punishment phase. The jury must first deliberate if Nolen is “intellectually disabled.” If all 12 jurors agree he is, Nolen will not be eligible for the death penalty. However, if it is not unanimous, the death penalty remains an option in this case.
District Attorney Greg Mashburn said the “snag” has to do with Nolen’s defense team wanting more time with the state’s expert witness, Dr. Jarrod Steffan. He testified today saying Nolen is not intellectually disabled.
Mashburn’s team also called other witnesses who knew Nolen before the beheading incident and testified about the type of person he was.
Nolen’s defense attorneys say it is inappropriate to comment at this time about the case.
Judge Walkley estimates that by Friday, the jury will deliberate on the intellectual disability. If the jurors decide he is not disabled, the trial will move into the next phase. The jurors will then have to decide if Nolen receives life with parole, life without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty. The trial could be over by Wednesday.