Alton Nolen's defense team contends their client is not competent to stand trial because he has a learning disability. Tuesday, he had his great aunt in the courtroom listening as other family members took the stand on his behalf.
Alton Nolen kept his head down low as he entered the court room and kept it down through most of the hearing today both his cousin and sister were called to the courthouse to testify on his behalf. Nolen refused to look at them the entire time.
His cousin testified no one ever said anything about him having any problems or being mentally disabled, but his sister testified he would always need help with his homework and described him as having a learning disability.
The defense contends that intellectual disability is what makes him not competent to stand trial, but prosecutors contend he is and brought forward their own expert witness, a forensic psychologist for the state, who evaluated Nolen himself.
He testified he met with Nolen for about an hour, and according to his findings Nolen is competent enough to assist in his defense, but just chooses not to do it. He testified Nolen told him he has no concerns about the death penalty, since he believes in the afterlife even saying, "I am Muslim, I'm not scared to die."
On cross examination, Nolen's defense team hammered the state's psychologist for the short amount of time he spent with Nolen, and also criticized the amount of research and testing he performed and did not perform. The doctor testified he did what he felt was appropriate to evaluate Nolen's competency in this case.
Prosecutors also called the former educators and former classmates and friends to testify on how Nolen never had any issues during his time in Idabel and showed absolutely no intellectual disabilities. The judge will make her ruling in the morning.