An autopsy shows the Oklahoma grandmother who was beheaded at a food-processing plant apparently tried to fight off her attacker, who had a serrated cooking knife.
Colleen Hufford, 54, was killed in the savage September 25 attack at Vaughan Foods in Moore allegedly carried out by a Muslim convert who had worked at the plant.
The autopsy released Wednesday indicates she died of decapitation resulting from sharp-force trauma to her neck.
The medical examiner found defensive injuries to both hands and her right arm. The weapon was a cooking knife with a blade about 8 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide and a plastic handle.
Prosecutors have charged 30-year-old Alton Nolen with first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the case. They plan to seek the death penalty.
Police say Nolen, a recent convert to Islam, attacked Hufford after learning he'd been suspended from his job at the plant.
After decapitating Hufford, Nolan allegedly attacked his other co-worker Traci Johnson, 43, who suffered serious injuries but survived.
The owner of the plant, Sheriff's Deputy Mark Vaughn, put an end to the carnage when he grabbed a rifle and shot Nolen.
in the days after the tragic killing, Hufford, a wife, mother and grandmother, was described by her friends and family as a 'beautiful soul' who loved sports and was known for her upbeat personality.
Mrs Hufford, who had been married to her husband KC for 25 years, had only just recovered from the trauma of losing her family home in the devastating Moore tornado last year.
She is survived by her daughter, Kelli, and granddaughter, Riley.
Her neighbors described her as 'quick to smile' and said her husband picked her up from the food processing plant every night and he was outside when he found out she had been killed.
A funeral for Mrs Hufford was held at a Baptist church in Moore last week. Around 450 mourners attended the service, which was closed to the media.
In an official statement issued two days before the funeral, her family mourned their loss and deplored the violence which led to her death.
It said: 'Losing our mom, wife and grandmother has been one of the most difficult challenges any of us have faced in our lives'.
'For her life to have been taken in such a tragic act of violence adds a depth of grief we are trying to comprehend.'
It was revealed in late September that Nolen had served less than two years of a six-year prison sentence for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
According to records, he went to prison March 10, 2011, to start a two-year sentence for marijuana possession and another two-year sentence for assaulting a highway patrol trooper, the website reported.
He began his six-year sentence for cocaine possession April 26, 2011. Records show that due to plea agreements, he was allowed to serve the three prison sentences at the same time.
He was released on March 22, 2013, the documents reveal.
On Nolen's Facebook page, listed under the name Jah'Keem Yisrael, he posted photos of Osama bin Laden and Taliban fighters, along with posts condemning a variety of aspects of American life.
Posts ranged from religious iconography to stock photography to even photos of supposed UFO activity.
It also included a graphic photo of a beheading.
Nolen's family members have said that they were surprised to learn of his conversion and never spoke about Islam explicitly with them.
Nolen's mother and sister posted a video message on Facebook over the weekend saying they were shocked and saddened by the allegations against him.
'My son was raised up in a loving home. My son was raised up believing in God,' his mother, Joyce Nolen, said in the video. "Our hearts bleed right now because of what they're saying Alton has done.
A spokesman for an Oklahoma City Islamic group said Nolen had attended services at a mosque where sermons were delivered condemning such attacks.
He added that he remembers the suspect was 'a little weird'.
'He acted a little odd,' Mohammed said, though he added that Nolen's behavior never raised any 'red flags' since he began worshiping at one of the group's centers in May.
He also said that Nolen attended services where sermons were delivered against beheadings like those committed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, militants, reports CBS News.
Lewis said Nolen was fired right before the attack, and that he then drove from the building that houses the company's human resources department to its main distribution center.
Once inside, he attacked Mrs Hufford with a knife in the center's administrative office area, eventually severing her head, according to police.
Nolen then repeatedly stabbed Ms Johnson
Nolen 'cut her across the throat and left side of her face,' and later told police he was attempting to behead her as well, the affidavit said. Johnson survived.
Police asked the FBI to help investigate Nolen after co-workers told investigators he had recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.