Oklahoma Beheading Suspect Alton Nolen's Conversion Surprised Kin

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/ Source: Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Alton Nolen told relatives after his release from prison on drug and assault charges last year that he wanted to focus on getting his life in order. But postings on the Facebook page of the 30-year-old Nolen, suspected of beheading a woman at an Oklahoma food distribution center, suggest that shortly after his release in March 2013, he became more interested in spreading the message of his newfound Islamic faith. "I spoke to him once he was released, and when we spoke, there was nothing of the sort," said Nolen's cousin, James Fulsom, 29, of Fort Worth, Texas. "I don't believe he was converted (to Islam) in prison."

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said he expects to charge Nolen on Tuesday with first-degree murder in Thursday's killing of 54-year-old Colleen Hufford at the Vaughan Foods plant in Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb. Nolen was brought up attending a non-denominational Christian church in the southeast Oklahoma community of Idabel, and several members of his family were upset about his recent conversion to Islam, Fulsom said. A Facebook page that Fulsom confirmed was his cousin's includes pictures of Nolen, bearded and wearing a prayer cap, outside a mosque, as well as his thoughts on Islam. Beginning in January, he began appending his posts with the phrase "InfoFromAMuslim." Most of his recent posts concerned religion. Oklahoma prison records show Nolen was released from prison after serving two years of a six-year sentence on charges that included assaulting a police officer and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Nolen remained hospitalized Monday. Police have also asked the FBI to help investigate Nolen after co-workers told authorities he had recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.


- The Associated Press