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Jury Recommends Death Penalty For Alton Nolen

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

The jury has recommended the Death Penalty for Alton Nolen in the Vaughan Foods beheading trial.

Jurors reached their sentence recommendation after deliberating for about three hours. 

The formal sentencing date is set for Dec. 15 at 9:30 a.m.in Judge Lori Walkley's courtroom.

Tiffany Liou is in the court room and will have more tonight on News 9.  


On Thursday, the jury will deliberate on Alton Nolen's punishment.

Nolen, 33, is found guilty of murder in the first degree. In September 2014, he admitted to beheading Colleen Hufford at Vaughan Foods in Moore.

He has already been found guilty for five other assault charges related to the incident. The jury gave him three life sentences, 55 years, and 75 years on those charges.

The trial is now in the punishment phase for the first degree murder charge. Nolen is eligible to get life with the possibility of parole, life without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

Judge Lori Walkley read the jury instructions on Thursday morning.

The state began its closing arguments. First Assistant Susan Caswell detailed the four aggravating factors and reasons why Nolen should get the death penalty. Caswell asked the jurors, "Each and every one of you agreed that the death penalty is appropriate in some cases. If this is not it, then what is?"

Caswell reminded the jurors of Nolen's history of violence. She also recapped the gruesome beheading incident and asked them to think about Hufford's life. She said, "He would do it again in a heartbeat based on all of the evidence you have heard."

Half an hour later, Nolen's defense team began its closing arguments. Capital Trial Attorney Shea Smith spoke to the jurors. She went through 17 mitigating circumstances. She also talked to them about individual moral judgement. She said, "You never ever have to give the death penalty."

Smith told the jurors that Nolen has some type of mental illness and isn't being treated for it. She reminds him that Nolen's family has a mental illness history. She also said he had a rough childhood growing up, and as an adult isolated himself from friends and family. Nolen's defense team is pleading to the jury to spare the defendant's life.

Following Smith's closing statement, District Attorney Greg Mashburn spoke again. He pulled out photos of the beheading scene. The jurors, once again, saw images of Colleen Hufford's head laying feet away from her body. "He didn't give Colleen Hufford, she didn't get any mercy," said Mashburn.

The jury is expected to deliberate in the afternoon.

News 9's Tiffany Liou is giving live updates from the courtroom on Facebook and Twitter.

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