Woman who survived beheading attempt recalls her ordeal as attacker gets death penalty
The man who beheaded a co-worker and nearly killed another in 2014 has been sentenced to death.
Traci Johnson says the terrifying scenario began at a food processing plant in Oklahoma when one of her co-workers, Alton Nolen, made a troubling remark: "I hate white people."
In an interview with Inside Edition, Johnson described Nolen as "pure evil."
Nolen was suspended and escorted off the property, but he returned later that day in a deadly rage and armed with a knife.
He also had a list in his pocket, the intended targets of his violence. His first victim was Colleen Hufford, 54, whom he beheaded. Nolen had apparently learned how to commit the grisly crime by watching ISIS videos online.
What followed were frantic calls to 911 that described Nolen running loose in the plant.
He then tried to behead Traci Johnson.
“He made a mad dash at me and I don't know how to say it, had the knife up in his hand,” Johnson recalled to Inside Edition. “He had me pushed up against the wall of the men's locker rooms and just slicing. He was slicing me like a piece of meat.”
The killer was only stopped when one of the plant's executives, who was also a reserve sheriff's deputy, shot him.
Nolen survived a gunshot wound to the stomach. He later told police that his intention was to behead her if no one stopped him.
Johnson says the knife missed her jugular by a single millimeter, which was the difference between life and death.
As he was jailed for the crime, Nolen showed how he could become violent in an instant. He directed his fury at guards bringing books to his cell, raining down blow after blow. It took six officers to finally subdue him.
Two weeks later, there was another incident in which cops had to use a Taser, which did not do much to stop him. Again, it took six officers to stop him.
Defense lawyers argued that 33-year-old Nolen, who was charged with murder, was schizophrenic and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
During the trial, Nolen reportedly said he did not “regret it at all” what he did.
He was later convicted and was sentenced last Friday to death by lethal injection, a decision that drew applause from one observer.
"It is a long process of getting over something like this," Johnson said. "Very, very traumatizing."
Johnson says she has not been able to go back to work full time since the attack and is now living on disability.
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