Investigators have waved that away, saying that Nolen clearly doesn’t know anything about Islam, you know, the religion of peace: “Hunt testified that Nolen had developed ideas about being a Muslim that are irrational and contradictory. He said they are not in keeping with normal Islamic teachings or even the extreme ideology of ISIS.” Never mind that business about “When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks” (Qur’an 47:4)
Meanwhile, authorities are, true to form, doing all they can to portray Nolen as insane: “The SMU professor told the judge Nolen would not agree to an interview in the jail. Hunt said Nolen called him a ‘white heathen’ and walked out. ‘He appears to be living in a fantasy world,’ the professor told the judge.” Yes, he is living in that fantasy world in which Muslims are “merciful to one another, harsh to the unbelievers” (Qur’an 48:29).
“Admitted murderer in Moore beheading case had ISIS flag in car, prosecutor reveals,” by Nolan Clay, The Oklahoman, August 12, 2016 (thanks to Charles):
NORMAN — The Muslim convert who beheaded a co-worker at a Moore food plant in 2014 had an ISIS flag in his car, a prosecutor revealed Friday during a hearing on his mental competency.
Alton Alexander Nolen, 31, also had researched on his computer ISIS and beheadings, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said.
Nolen pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder for beheading the co-worker. He also pleaded guilty to assault and battery with a deadly weapon for trying to behead another co-worker and to assault with a dangerous weapon for confronting a plant official with a knife.
He wants to be sentenced to die by lethal injection. First, though, Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley must decide whether to accept his plea.
At issue is whether Nolen is mentally competent to enter a guilty plea and knowingly waive his rights to a jury trial. The judge heard from three experts Friday on that issue and will rule Wednesday.
If she accepts the guilty plea, she will begin Nolen’s sentencing. She could, however, send Nolen to the state mental hospital in Vinita for further evaluation. She brought up that possibility at the end of the all-day hearing Friday, asking what would be the harm in doing so.
A defense expert who spent nine hours with Nolen in May described him as schizophrenic.
“He has lost touch with reality. It has gone to that extreme,” Texas neuropsychologist Antoinette McGarrahan told the judge. “He can’t think rationally because he firmly believes he is being held captive, and we are all evil and the devil.”
McGarrahan said Nolen is severely mental ill with a thought disorder. She called him grandiose in his thinking and so paranoid that “it permeated his entire being.”
A respected Oklahoma psychologist, testifying for the prosecution, disagreed. The expert, Shawn Roberson, described Nolen’s behavior as simply his personality and not mental illness.
Roberson examined Nolen last year and again in June. He testified that Nolen did not act paranoid during their time together.
“He is able to engage in a coherent conversation,” Roberson said. “I just think he’s uncooperative.”
Nolen kept his head down during most of the testimony, occasionally yawning. He spoke only a little at the start of the hearing, saying, “Praise to Allah, yes” when asked if he was staying with his guilty plea.
“Praise to Allah, no,” he said when the judge asked if he wanted more time to consider.
About the case
Prosecutors say Nolen beheaded co-worker Colleen Hufford inside Vaughan Foods on Sept. 25, 2014, shortly after he was suspended for making racial remarks. She was 54.
Prosecutors say he also assaulted three other workers who tried to stop him as he cut Hufford’s neck.
Prosecutors say he then tried to behead another co-worker, Traci Johnson, and charged with a knife at the company’s chief operating officer, who shot him. Prosecutors say Johnson was his primary target, because she had complained about his remarks. He did not know Hufford.
Nolen had started working at the plant in January 2013 while at a halfway house for felons finishing prison sentences, records show.
Nolen refused in May to plead guilty to three assault counts involving the three workers who reported fighting with him.
Prosecutors have told the judge in legal papers that Nolen after his arrest “justified his actions based on his reading of the Quran and stated that he would do the same thing again to anyone who oppressed him.”
The revelation about the ISIS flag came during the testimony of defense expert Robert Hunt, a professor at Southern Methodist University and an expert on Islamic beliefs.
Hunt testified that Nolen had developed ideas about being a Muslim that are irrational and contradictory. He said they are not in keeping with normal Islamic teachings or even the extreme ideology of ISIS.
“The use of beheading by ISIS is in the context of perceived crimes against the Muslim community and involves trials, however unjust, and a finding of guilt,” Hunt wrote in a report to the judge. “They do not involve settling personal disputes.”
The SMU professor told the judge Nolen would not agree to an interview in the jail. Hunt said Nolen called him a “white heathen” and walked out.
“He appears to be living in a fantasy world,” the professor told the judge….
Mashburn brought up the ISIS flag and computer research as he began questioning the SMU professor. Using an old phrase, Hunt conceded the group could have affected Nolen, calling the group “grist for his mill.”
FBI agents interviewed Nolen twice about possible ties to terrorist groups but concluded he had none.
The judge last October found Nolen mentally competent to be prosecuted, but defense attorneys are allowed to raise the issue more than once if new doubts arise.