LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A US worker suspected of beheading a colleague after trying to convert his co-workers to Islam is to be formally charged on Tuesday, a police spokesman said.
Alton Nolen, 30, is expected to be charged with first-degree murder, as well as assault and battery with a deadly weapon. He may also face federal indictments, but not terrorism charges, according to media reports.
His mother broke her silence at the weekend, after the alleged incident on September 25, apologising in a video posted online.
It was after being fired from his job at the Vaughan Foods in an Oklahoma City suburb that Nolen went on a frenzied knife rampage, severing the head of a woman colleague and wounding another before being shot by his former boss.
“My heart is just so heavy right now,” his mother Joyce Nolen said in the video posted Saturday on Facebook. “That’s not my son.”
The incident came in the wake of a series of beheadings of Western captives by militant fighters in the Middle East and Algeria, but US officials have not confirmed any link to the Oklahoma case. Nolen had recently converted to Islam.
“His family, our hearts bleed right now because what they are saying Alton has done,” Nolen’s mother said in the short video statement, sitting next to her daughter Megan.
“I want to apologise to both families — because this is not Alton.” She said she was hoping that justice will prevail and “the whole story will come out.”
On Facebook, Nolen went by the moniker Jah’Keem Yisrael. He posted photographs of the World Trade Center towers going up in smoke during the September 11, 2001 attacks and of graves.
“THE ONES WHO DIED IN SIN WILL REMAIN IN THEIR GRAVES CAUSE THEIR ALREADY IN HELL!!!” he wrote on September 17 in a posting that got five “likes”.
The Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City has stressed that “this unwarranted act does not represent Islam in any shape or form.”