Beheading Suspect 'Was a Good Kid,' Mom Says

Alton Nolen, 30, focused on Islam after serving time
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2014 12:30 PM CDT
Updated Sep 29, 2014 1:45 PM CDT
Beheading Suspect Was Polite Proponent of Islam
This Oct. 18, 2011 photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Alton Nolen, of Moore, Okla.    (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections)

The man accused of beheading his co-worker at a food processing plant on Friday was a polite, obedient guy who had emerged from prison with a deep focus on Islam, CNN reports. Family and friends of Alton Nolen, 30, are publicly espousing his good sides as he faces formal charges for last week's attack in Oklahoma. "My son was raised up in a loving home," says a woman identifying herself as his mother in a Facebook video. "My son was raised up believing in God. My son was a good kid." A woman who says she's his sister calls him "a people's person," while a family friend tells KOCO-TV that he did what people asked: "It was like no red flags actually that I could ever think of." But "that no-red-flags life seems to have taken a turn," says CNN.

A police officer who says he saw Nolen toss marijuana and crack cocaine from his car window arrested him in 2006; four years later, Nolen was arrested again on multiple warrants. After serving time in prison, he filled a Facebook page under the name Jah'Keem Yisrael with posts related to Islam (among them, he criticized the US over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and denounced masturbation). He also used a cover photo of armed fighters and included images of Osama bin Laden and a possible beheading. At work, he complained about the pay and got in trouble for trying to convert employees to Islam, law enforcement officials say. But he remained a quiet person whose only transgression at a local mosque was to one day leave his Koran on the floor—and promptly pick it up when told to, an Islamic spokesman tells News OK. (More Alton Nolen stories.)

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