Exclusive: Survivor of Oklahoma beheading attack speaks out on 'The Kelly File'

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," June 24, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST:  Tonight, with calls for change across this country in the wake of a deadly shooting in Charleston, we have a dramatic exclusive on a story of murder, hate and race.  This one not in South Carolina but in the country's heartland.

Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone.  I'm Megyn Kelly.  A week ago tonight a young man corrupted by hate walked into a church in Charleston and murdered nine African-Americans in an act some insisted was terrorism arguing labels do matter.  Nine months ago tomorrow, another young man corrupted by hate and devotion to radical Islam walked into an office in Oklahoma, beheaded one co-worker and started to behead another.

In an act that many also say was terror.  Since that terrible day the woman who came under the killer's knife has chosen to stay out of the national spotlight.  But that all changes tonight.  In moments Traci Johnson will share her incredible story of horror, heroism and survival.  But we begin with a look back at the moment that made national headlines.


KELLY (voice-over):  A chilling murder in America's heartland.

911 DISPATCHER:  Good morning.  911 what is your emergency?

911 CALLER:  We have someone attacking someone in the building.

KELLY:  September 25, 2014 Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma finds itself under attack.

911 CALLER:  So, we don't know where the person went.  He went through our front office, went through the shipping office, he stabbed a woman in our customer service department.

KELLY:  The first victim, 54-year-old Colleen Hufford, a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time who we later learned met a terrible end.  Police say her killer then set his sights on 43-year-old Traci Johnson.  And then

911 CALLER:  And that is a gunshot.

911 DISPATCHER:  Got a gunshot.

Okay.  Do you know where he's at now?

911 CALLER:  He is in the hallway outside of the center of the building.

KELLY:  Gun shots coming from the firearm of company executive Mark Vaughan, a reserve Oklahoma County deputy whose heroic actions stopped a killer in his tracks.

MARK VAUGHAN, VAUGHAN FOODS COO:  I did what I had to do.

KELLY:  What Vaughan had to do was shoot Alton Nolen, Vaughan Foods employee who had been suspended hours earlier saving the life of Traci Johnson whose neck Nolen was slashing.

VAUGHAN:  The subject was in the process of attacking another individual.  
And I yelled at him to stop and he did.  And shortly thereafter he approached me with the knife.

KELLY:  As news of the attack made national headlines, a bombshell from police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He encountered the first victim Colleen Hufford.  He did kill and did sever her head.

KELLY:  It was the first reported beheading on U.S. soil following weeks of high profile reports out of the Middle East of ISIS terrorists beheading people including two American journalists.  The news sparking fears of a possible link to terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Understandably there was alarm and comparisons to the savage brutality of ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There is particular concern that recent propaganda tapes celebrating the executions of hostages could inspire lone wolf American radicals to act on violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ISIS itself has put out a call to people who may be sympathetic to their cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There is no doubt that there is that concern.  There are some red flags.

KELLY:  Police reveal that Nolen had recently converted to Islam.  Taking the name Jah'Keem Yisrael.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He recently started trying to convert some of his co- workers to the Muslim religion.

KELLY:  There were reports he'd shouted Arabic phrases during the attack.  
And he'd been attending a controversial mosque, went formally frequented by
9/11 terrorists Zacarias Moussaou.  A mosque one former member says, was under the watch of law enforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  To the public the mosque will not promote terrorism or any kind of radical acts, but when they're among friends and congregants only, they will promote the true teachings of Islam which include the offer to non-Muslims the choice rather that you must convert and live under Islamic rule or be fought against.  (SPEAKING ARABIC).  Jihad for the sake of Allah.

KELLY:  The mosque denied those charges.  And while the FBI was initially involved, it reportedly deemed this case work place violence and left it to local authorities.  The prosecutor concluded the attacks were motivated by race, not religion siting a racist comment Nolen had made hours before the attack.  But the evidence of radicalization was overwhelming.  Nolen's Facebook page was taken down after the attack but not before "The Kelly File" captured it on camera.  It showed several disturbing images, some parts too graphic to show on television.  Quotes like, "Islam will dominate the world, freedom can go to hell."  And, "we need more Muslims for Allah. Jihad.  Jihad.  Jihad."

A picture of the Twin Towers burning with the caption that reads, "Don't you all know why the eastern part of the world hates America?"  An image of Usama Bin Laden, a photograph of a beheading victim and a quote from the Quran saying, I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, smite ye above their necks."  As for the woman who was almost beheaded before her boss saved her life, early on Traci Johnson publically thanked Mark Vaughan.

TRACI JOHNSON, SURVIVED BEHEADING ATTACK:  Thank you, Mark, from the bottom of my heart.  If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here right now.  Because of you I get another life.

KELLY:  Since then she has remained silent about her injuries, the attack and the decision to treat this as something other than terror, refusing to tell her harrowing story until now.

(on camera):  Traci, thank you so much for being here.

JOHNSON:  Thank you.

KELLY:  Take us back to September 25th, 2014.  How long had you been working for Vaughan Foods?

JOHNSON:  Four days.

KELLY:  Four days?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  What were you hired to do?

JOHNSON:  Work in the production -- work in the production line.

KELLY:  Okay.  So making the food products.

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Okay.  And had you ever met this man, Alton Nolen, 30-years-old?


KELLY:  Never -- in those four days and not prior to that four days?

JOHNSON:  Never seen him in my life.

KELLY:  And had you ever met Colleen Hufford?

JOHNSON:  No, ma'am.

KELLY:  Okay.  It was a Thursday.  You were working with Nolen.  The two of you exchange words.  What happened?

JOHNSON:  We had been having confrontations all day.  And he was -- I don't like it when somebody is not wanting to work and wanting to do their job.  
So, I called him a school brat and lazy.  He kind of laughed a little bit, laughed that off.  And then, he said then we were working and then he said racism.  He started being racist, I hate white people and I beat white people up.

KELLY:  He said that to you?

JOHNSON:  No.  He didn't say it to me, he just said it in reference to me.

KELLY:  Okay.  So, you're working with him on the food assembly line.  You call him lazy.  He says, I hate white people.  I beat white people up.  Did anybody else hear that?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  How many?

JOHNSON:  Two other people.

KELLY:  Okay.  So, was that all he said?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  So, then what did you do?

JOHNSON:  I got off the line and went to my supervisor's office and told my supervisor what was going on, what he had said, and I wrote a statement.  
Then that's when the people that heard him wrote the statement.  And he wrote a statement.

KELLY:  Okay.  And so did you have another interaction with him at that time of the morning?

JOHNSON:  Yes.  He came around the corner and started saying that she called me this, she called me that.  And my supervisor said you will have your time to write your statement.

KELLY:  He was complaining that you would call him lazy?


KELLY:  I see.  And she said, you're going to have the chance to be heard.


KELLY:  So, then, was that the last you knew of it for the morning?  You know, when the morning wrapped up, and was that, sort of, okay, he said that and that was it for the time being?

JOHNSON:  It was that time he tried to come back on the line and work and they told him no and that is when they sent him to human resources.

KELLY:  Okay.  And then, that was the last you saw of him that morning.

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  He was suspended and escorted out of the building?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Okay.  How much time passed between the time he left the building and when he returned?

JOHNSON:  I don't exactly know the time.

KELLY:  Was it hours?

JOHNSON:  I would say maybe 15 minutes.

KELLY:  So it was short?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  So, he's gone.  You are thinking it is over.  He is out of here.  
That's the end of that.

JOHNSON:  Right.

KELLY:  Where were you in the building when you first understood there was trouble?

JOHNSON:  In the locker room.

KELLY:  What were you doing?

JOHNSON:  Getting ready to change my clothes.

KELLY:  And how did you understand that something was going on?

JOHNSON:  I heard screaming.  I didn't think it was for real.

KELLY:  So, you were changing your clothes.  And what did the screams sound like?

JOHNSON:  Excruciating screams.

KELLY:  Could you tell that someone was being hurt?

JOHNSON:  I didn't think about that.  At the time.  I thought it was a joke.

KELLY:  So what did you do?

JOHNSON:  I stood in there and then I didn't hear the screamings anymore or the fighting.  I guess that is what was going on.  Because I didn't see all of that.  And next thing you know somebody comes around the corner and yells some stuff so we all go look and Colleen is laying on the ground.

KELLY:  Where was she?

JOHNSON:  In the office.

KELLY:  The front office of the building?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  What did the scene look like?

JOHNSON:  It was pretty bad.  Just blood everywhere.  On the floor around her.

KELLY:  Did you see Nolen at that time?

JOHNSON:  No.  We couldn't find him.  They couldn't find him at all.

KELLY:  Did you see that Colleen's head had been cut off?

JOHNSON:  You couldn't tell.

KELLY:  You just saw her body lying there?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  And did it look like a fight had taken place?  Was the office in disarray?

JOHNSON:  There was a chair leaned over laying on the ground with blood on it.

KELLY:  Do you know Traci if she had a chance to fight?

JOHNSON:  She fought.  I found out she fought for her life.

KELLY:  You see this scene.  What do you do next?

JOHNSON:  I go back into the locker room and my instincts tell me you need to go back and sit with her.  And so I go back and change and clock out.  
And I get about three feet away from her and there is Nolen at the other end of the hall.

KELLY:  So you see Colleen's body.

JOHNSON:  I couldn't see it from where I was standing by the men's locker rooms.

KELLY:  At any point in that timeframe did you see what had happened to her?

JOHNSON:  No.  I still didn't know.

KELLY:  So, you are going back to sit with her.

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  And when was the first you saw Alton Nolen?

JOHNSON:  Standing at the other end of the hall when I was -- to walk around the corner.

KELLY:  How far away from you was he?

JOHNSON:  About five feet or even more close to that.

KELLY:  What was your first instinct?

JOHNSON:  I didn't know what to think.

KELLY:  Was it clear that he had been the one who attacked Colleen?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  How?

JOHNSON:  There was blood all over him.

KELLY:  Describe him.  What did he seem like?

JOHNSON:  Crazy.  His eyes were like huge.  I have never seen somebody's eyes so big in my life.  They were huge and I couldn't move.

KELLY:  We always wonder whether we will fight, whether we'll flee, whether we'll scream in a moment like that.  What did you do?

JOHNSON:  Didn't move.  And he came running after me.

KELLY:  Did you feel paralyzed with fear?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Did you realize this is the man you had the confrontation with?


KELLY:  Did it occur to you, he is coming after me?


KELLY:  What went through your head?

JOHNSON:  I don't know.  I really don't know.  Just everything.  What to do.  I couldn't go.  I couldn't move an inch.

KELLY:  Like the nightmare where you are in danger but you can't move.

JOHNSON:  Right.

KELLY:  Was anyone else around?

JOHNSON:  No, ma'am.

KELLY:  Just the two of you in the hallway.

JOHNSON:  Just the two in the hall.

KELLY:  You see him covered with blood.  Did you see the knife?

JOHNSON:  Yes, I did.

KELLY:  How many seconds between the moment you saw him would you say and the moment he got to you?

JOHNSON:  Two seconds.  He ran after me.

KELLY:  Did he say anything?

JOHNSON:  He yelled Muslim stuff.  I don't know what he was saying.

KELLY:  You heard him yelling in Arabic?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  He got to you.  And what happened next?


KELLY:  What happened next is the most chilling part of this story.  And what Traci would learn later led to questions the Feds have not answered to this day.  When we return the moment Traci Johnson felt the metal of an assassin's knife on her neck.


JOHNSON:  He started slicing my neck.  And cut a hole my face.  He cut a hole in my right index finger.  And he wouldn't stop.



KELLY:  What you are about to hear is the most terrifying part of this story.  Traci Johnson an assembly line worker four days on the job finds herself face-to-face with the man covered in blood, shouting in Arabic and has every intention of taking her life.  In this moment with a knife to her throat Traci is a single millimeter from almost certain death.  And that is where we pick up the story.


KELLY:  So, he got to you and what happened next?

JOHNSON:  He started slicing my neck.  And cut a hole in my face.  And cut a hole in my right index finger.  And wouldn't stop and I'm screaming for help.  And I didn't think anybody was going to come around.

KELLY:  Was he saying anything?  And you were just screaming as loudly as you could?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  What were you screaming?  Were you calling for help?  What were you saying?

JOHNSON:  I was calling for help and screaming at the same time.

KELLY:  Do you think that he was trying to decapitate you?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  He was actually in the process of beheading you?

JOHNSON:  Yes.  He got a millimeter from my jugular --

KELLY:  Where did he cut you?

JOHNSON:  On the right side of my neck.

KELLY:  Would you mind showing us?

JOHNSON:  It's all right here.

KELLY:  So, did he slice you or did he stab you?

JOHNSON:  Sliced me.  He was slicing me.

KELLY:  And then he got you on the face, as well?

JOHNSON:  Yes.  Sliced my face -- on the left part of my lip --

KELLY:  Over -- over--

JOHNSON:  Over on the cheek part.

KELLY:  And how did he cut your finger?  Were you being defensive?

JOHNSON:  I was trying to be at defensive turning -- get him off of me and I didn't realize he had cut it.

KELLY:  Did you feel the knife?  Did you feel pain in that moment?

JOHNSON:  No.  My anxiety was too high.

KELLY:  Did you see blood?

JOHNSON:  Not until afterwards.

KELLY:  Did it happen quickly or did it seem to last forever?

JOHNSON:  To me it happened quickly but it seemed to last forever.

KELLY:  Did you have an instinctual understanding that you could be about to die?

JOHNSON:  Yes.  I did.

KELLY:  Amazingly as he was stabbing you, slashing you, help arrived.  And around the corner came a man named Mark Vaughan.

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Did you know Mark?


KELLY:  You had never met him before?


KELLY:  Describe what that was like for you.

JOHNSON:  I don't know.  I really don't know.  Just fear still because, you know, because he was telling, when Mark came around the corner, he was telling him to get off of me and he wouldn't get off of me.

KELLY:  Did you see Mark's gun?

JOHNSON:  Yes, I did.

KELLY:  And so, do you remember the exchange that Mark had with Nolen?

JOHNSON:  He told Nolen to get off of me.  I think he shot him the first time and it missed him and that is when Nolen got off of me and made a mad dash for Mr. Vaughan and that's when he shot him two more times.

KELLY:  Did you have any fear when Mr. Vaughan was shooting at Alton Nolen that you might also be in danger, that you might also get shot?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  How long was the ordeal?

JOHNSON:  Five minutes, ten minutes.

KELLY:  And so the next thing you know Nolen is down, is he down on the floor after he gets shot by Mr. Vaughan?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  And was he bleeding?

JOHNSON:  He had gotten shot in the left abdomen.

KELLY:  So, he was conscious?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Was he saying anything?

JOHNSON:  No.  He was breathing.  That was the only thing I could see him breathing.

KELLY:  Did you and Mark Vaughan look at each other?  Did you have any sort of an exchange?

JOHNSON:  I was in the cafeteria.  They had stuff on my neck.  Because I guess it was that bad.  And I didn't know.  Because I still couldn't feel anything.  And Mr. Vaughan told me to come on.  And I didn't want to because I didn't want to walk by Nolen.  And I walked around there and I didn't even look at Mr. Vaughan.

KELLY:  How did you get from the place where you were attacked into the cafeteria?  Do you remember?

JOHNSON:  And Indian lady told me to come in there, this was after he was shot.

KELLY:  So, you walked in?


KELLY:  And then who started attending to you?

JOHNSON:  The Indian lady.  I don't know her name.

KELLY:  So, the police were not yet on the scene?

JOHNSON:  No, ma'am.

KELLY:  And what did she do to help you?

JOHNSON:  She went and got paper towels and put them on my neck.

KELLY:  What was that like hearing the police arrive?

JOHNSON:  Relief, honestly.  A lot of relief.

KELLY:  Do you know who was watching Alton Nolen until the police got there?

JOHNSON:  Mr. Vaughan.

KELLY:  So you get placed into the ambulance?  Right?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  And Nolen gets placed into an ambulance, a different ambulance.

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  And you wind up getting taken to the same hospital.


KELLY:  Did you know that?


KELLY:  When did you find that out?

JOHNSON:  After the doctor told me that he was next door in the next bed lying in the next room.

KELLY:  He was in the next room?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Why?  What did you think of that?

JOHNSON:  I don't know.  I still couldn't think.

KELLY:  Were you scared?

JOHNSON:  A little bit.

KELLY:  Did you think he was going to come back and finish the job?


KELLY:  Was there a guard outside of his room and yours?

JOHNSON:  I don't know.

KELLY:  You don't know that to this day?

JOHNSON:  Uh-mm.

KELLY:  He recovered ultimately and he is on trial.  We'll get to that.  
But -- it's going to go to trial.  What did they tell you about your injuries in the hospital?

JOHNSON:  I sustained a neck injury.  He got ahold of my jugular vein and some nerves in my neck.

KELLY:  How close were you to dying?


KELLY:  Traci answers that question when we come back.

Plus, we will take up the issue of why the Feds seem so reluctant to call this terror.


KELLY:  Did you think this was about a man who didn't like you because you were white or was it a man who was making a point about radical Islam?



KELLY:  Well, Traci Johnson tells us that when her co-worker showed up with a bloody knife in his hands, he had a list in his pocket and her name was on it.  The main reason Traci is able to speak with us tonight is because she had a boss who had a firearm and training on how to use it.  And that is where we pick up the next part of the story.


KELLY:  How close were you to dying?

JOHNSON:  Millimeter.

KELLY:  And then at some point you found out what he had done to Colleen.

JOHNSON:  Yes.  They didn't want me knowing.  Nobody wanted me knowing.  
And I found out I think that Friday or that Saturday what really happened to her.  And that just tore me up, still bothers me to this day.

KELLY:  Was it at that point you realized how close it was to happening to you?


KELLY:  How do you process that, Traci?

JOHNSON:  I don't really know.  It's hard.  Because I can't let go of it.

KELLY:  What do you mean?

JOHNSON:  I can't let go of Colleen not being here.  And a lot of it I want to be honest with you, I feel like it's my fault because of what happened.  
But everybody tells me it's not.

KELLY:  Because you had an exchange with Nolen that morning?

JOHNSON:  Right.  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  You feel responsible?


KELLY:  Have you spoken to Colleen's husband, her family?

JOHNSON:  Yes.  I talk to them frequently.

KELLY:  Do they hold you responsible?

JOHNSON:  No.  Not at all.

KELLY:  Something you do to yourself?

JOHNSON:  Right.

KELLY:  Don't you realize that you have been through enough?

JOHNSON:  A little bit, but it still bothers me quite a bit because she's still could be here, too.

KELLY:  Have you spoken with your other employees?  How do they feel about it?

JOHNSON:  I have not spoken to anybody else.

KELLY:  Is that right?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Even the Indian woman who helped you?  Have you spoken with her?

JOHNSON:  No, ma'am.

KELLY:  Wow.  Why not?

JOHNSON:  I can't go back to that place.

KELLY:  Did you ever step foot into Vaughan Foods again?

JOHNSON:  I tried one time and had to run straight out of there.

KELLY:  When you see Alton Nolen's picture, we had his picture up, and you had a visceral reaction to it.  Describe what that does to you?

JOHNSON:  Angers me, hurts, and makes me sick that somebody would do something to some people that didn't deserve to be done to.

KELLY:  Does it take you back?

JOHNSON:  I have flashbacks, a lot of them.

KELLY:  Was there any chance of running, of fighting, of getting away?

JOHNSON:  I think if I had ran, he would have got my back and my heart and I would have died then.

KELLY:  Did you even feel capable of it in the moment?

JOHNSON:  No, not at all.

KELLY:  Was he holding you against the wall or your own fear?

JOHNSON:  No, he had me against the wall.

KELLY:  Did you pray at all?  Are you a religious woman?

JOHNSON:  Yeah I did.  And I prayed that somebody would come save me.  And it happened.  I had guardian angels all around me.

KELLY:  Right and then somebody, Mark Vaughan stepped out of the shadows and saved you in a manner that he still refuses to talk about to this day, because he doesn't want credit for his actions.  I want to talk to you about him in a moment.  But I want to ask you this.  Is there any doubt in your mind that Nolen would have killed you had it not been for Mark Vaughan?

JOHNSON:  Yeah.  I really do think he would have.  He had a list, is what I have heard.  And there were three people, is what I heard.  And I was one of his (Inaudible).

KELLY:  Do you think Colleen was on his list?

JOHNSON:  No.  She was just there when it happened.  And he saw her for the
-- she was the first one he saw.

KELLY:  Because when he came back to the building, he didn't come in the side door where the factory employees were supposed to go in.

JOHNSON:  He came in the office doors.

KELLY:  And that's where she sat.


KELLY:  I'm wondering if to this day when you look at a butcher knife, or you look at a steak knife whether that's where your mind goes?

JOHNSON:  Yes.  It's hard for me to be with a knife.

KELLY:  Do you still have pain?

JOHNSON:  It still hurts.

KELLY:  Describe what this has done to you.

JOHNSON:  I feel like it has ruined my life.  It has kind of -- I'm not the same.  I try to be, but I just can't right now.  I'm just -- I think about it every day.  It goes through my head every day, but I try to black it out and it doesn't work.

KELLY:  When you think about it, what do you think?

JOHNSON:  What he did to me, what he did to Colleen.

KELLY:  You relive the moment of your own attack and you imagine what happened to her?

JOHNSON:  Right.

KELLY:  Are you on medications?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  Tell us about that.  What have you had to do to sort of cope with this?

JOHNSON:  Sleep medicines, pills for anxiety and depression.

KELLY:  And depression, have you gotten therapy or counseling?

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.  I'm in therapy.

KELLY:  Is anyone able to help you find a way out of this?

JOHNSON:  Not yet, hopefully soon.

KELLY:  I know you left Oklahoma.  Now you live in Texas.  Why?

JOHNSON:  To get away because the closer I am to it, it is harder on me.


KELLY:  And the big question in this case, was this terror?  The Oklahoma authorities reached what some considered a shocking conclusion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This seems to be an isolated incident with him being triggered by having been suspended earlier in the day.

KELLY:  Officials declared this was work place violence, despite overwhelming evidence that Alton Nolen had been radicalized, and favored violent Jihad.  From the controversial mosque he attended to his Facebook page, littered with posts glorifying radical Islam, Osama Bin Laden, even celebrating the 9/11 attacks, not to mention his fascination with decapitations by terrorists.  Then there were the attempted conversions, the shouting in Arabic moments before the attack, and of course, the method of death he chose, beheading one victim, attempting to behead another.  So could this case have been charged as terrorism?  And does Traci Johnson believe it was terror?  Her answer, next.

The FBI was initially involved but they concluded that there are no links to terrorism here.  They appear to have classified this as work place violence.  Was this an act of terrorism?



KELLY:  How do we make sense of what happened in Moore, Oklahoma, that day in September of 2014?  Was Alton Nolen's attachment to radical Islam, his fascination with beheadings, his hatred of America to blame?  In the last part of our interview, I put that question to his only living victim.


KELLY:  Nolen had been radicalized.  Were you aware of that?


KELLY:  You heard the Arabic phrases.  What else had you heard about him and his radicalization?

JOHNSON:  Nothing really at all.

KELLY:  Were you aware of the fact that he was trying to convert people at Vaughan Foods to Islam?

JOHNSON:  Not until later on down the line.

KELLY:  Found that out after the fact.

JOHNSON:  Yes, ma'am.

KELLY:  The FBI was initially involved but they concluded that there are no links to terrorism here.  They appear to have classified this as work place violence.  Was this an act of terrorism?

JOHNSON:  I don't honestly really know.  It is hard to tell.  It's just a hard situation to tell if it was or wasn't.

KELLY:  Do you feel like you were the victim of a terror attack?

JOHNSON:  A little bit.  With him being the way he was and being Muslim and everything like that, that's why I think it was a terrorist attack.

KELLY:  Do you think this man was motivated by radicalism or racism?

JOHNSON:  Racism to be honest.

KELLY:  So do you think this was about a man who didn't like you because you were white, or was it a man making a point about radical Islam?

JOHNSON:  I'm really for not sure on that one.  It is kind of a hard question to answer.

KELLY:  He has now been charged with first degree murder.  And in July, there will be a hearing on Nolen's mental competency.  Do you believe he is insane?

JOHNSON:  No.  He knew what he was doing.

KELLY:  You think he's going to try to get out of this by claiming he was?

JOHNSON:  Yup.  Honestly, my honest opinion, yeah.

KELLY:  He served time in prison before for drugs, for assaulting a police officer.  And some say that is why he did this.  He was an angry man.  Is that what you believe?

JOHNSON:  Because I didn't know him, and that is the only time I had ever been around him or seen him was that day.  He didn't act angry at first to me.  And then at the end, I think he is a very angry person.

KELLY:  Is this someone you can forgive?

JOHNSON:  Not right now.

KELLY:  Nor has he sought your forgiveness?

JOHNSON:  Right.

KELLY:  Prior to all of this, you actually served some time in prison for food stamps and welfare false statement.  Then you get out, and got yourself a job.  Do you feel like now, you have been given a second chance?

JOHNSON:  Yes, I do.

KELLY:  To do something with your life?

JOHNSON:  Right.

KELLY:  Do you feel that motivation?

JOHNSON:  I feel better about myself, a lot better about myself.  This didn't help, but it's helped me out in the long run to grow up a lot, and realize I did in the past but my past is my past.

KELLY:  Mark Vaughan says he is no hero, he says anybody would have done what he did.  And you say?

JOHNSON:  No, he is a hero.  He is my hero, and everybody else's hero that he saved their lives too before anything else happened.

KELLY:  If he is watching now, what would you like to say to him?

JOHNSON:  That he's a hero.  And if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have a second life I have now.  I wouldn't be here.  Thank you.

KELLY:  Traci, thank you so much for being here, all the best to you.

JOHNSON:  Thank you.


KELLY:  Well, you have now heard Traci's story, but the big question still looms.  Was this terrorism?  And if so, why won't the FBI say so?  And does it matter?  Up next, two veterans of the FBI on the threats we face and whether this case was mislabeled.

We also want to bring you an update tonight on the manhunt for those two convicted killers who escaped.  As a second prison employee is arrested in connection with the escape.  Joyce Mitchell, the first prison employee arrested in this case was allegedly able to pass hacksaw blades and other tools to the convicts, by smuggling them inside frozen meat.  And tonight, Officer Gene Palmer, who delivered that frozen meat to the two men, was also arrested.  Palmer now facing charges of tampering with evidence among others, although his attorney says, he had no idea what was inside the meat.  Palmer was arraigned a short time ago.  Don't go away.



GREG MASHBURN, CLEVELAND COUNTY OK DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Obviously, there was some sort of infatuation with beheadings, and we know that's obvious from the Facebook posts.  So the manner in which it was carried out seems to be related to his interests, and in killing someone in that way.  But other than that, it seems to be an isolated incident with him -- with being triggered by his having been suspended earlier in the day.


KELLY:  Well, authorities have decided this is not a terror case.  They say instead, it was work place violence.  But Oklahoma state lawmakers in the Counter Terrorism Caucus say those officials have rushed to judgment.  One lawmaker saying the FBI may have feared creating a panic, or a backlash against mosques, they say this clearly was terror.  Joining me now to discuss it, Mary Ellen O'Toole, she's a Retired Senior FBI Profiler and Forensic Behavior Consultant.  And Steve Rogers is a Former Member of the FBI's National Joint Terrorism Task Force, and a Retired Police Detective, thank you both so much for being here.

Steve, let me start with you, on whether you think this was in fact terror.

STEVE ROGERS, RETIRED POLICE DETECTIVE:  Megyn, I believe this was a terrorist attack.  Keep in mind that what was not found on his computer and on his Facebook page was any racial rantings, any sympathy to white supremacist groups.  But as revealed by the Kelly File, what was on that computer was sympathizers or sympathizing to Islam, Jihadists, there were beheadings, and there was gruesome torture on that Facebook page, a picture of Osama Bin Laden.  So the point is, that he, I believe, as many people in the law enforcement community believe, was greatly influenced by Islamic Jihadists, you can only label this as a terrorist act, a lone one at that, but indeed a terrorist act.

KELLY:  Mary Ellen?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, RETIRED SENIOR FBI PROFILER:  I agree that this was a terrorist act, it was terrifying, I mean just listening to the narrative was chilling, and it was absolutely stunning.  But that said, when you -- when I listen to the motivation that this individual has in terms of the suspension and the friction between him and this victim, it does seem that his -- this was not instrumental violence.  This was reactionary to his relationship with her, and...


KELLY:  Let me ask you this.  It does seem reactionary, given the timing of when the incident happened.  But does that make it not terror?

O'TOOLE:  I think it's terrifying, but at the same time, I think when this case goes into court, the foundation upon which they had to make that decision is, is it going to fit the statute of terrorism, or is it going to fit the statute of workplace violence?

KELLY:  I want to show the audience the domestic terrorism statute so they can see for themselves.  Domestic terrorism involves acts dangerous to human life that violates federal state law, check, we got that.  That appear intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, this is a potentially problematic one.  And that occurred primarily within the United States.  So Steve, can you make the argument that this act appeared intended to intimidate a civilian population?

ROGERS:  Yes, you could.  Megan, this was a political decision.  No one wants to admit that.  Just like Fort Hood, it was a political decision, because there was fear as your broadcast said earlier, it would be a backlash against a mosque or Muslims, and that would actually terrify, terrorize the American people. So that in itself tells you because of that decision, that this was in fact a terrorist act.

KELLY:  Mary Ellen, let me ask you.  Because the local D.A., who I assume is proceeding in good faith, he seemed like a straight shooter.  He comes out and says I understand the Facebook page, and the fascination with beheadings, but it seemed like he had this dispute at work and then he went off and did it.  But there's a larger narrative, which we've now laid out over the course of the year, it wasn't just a Facebook page.  It wasn't.  
And I just want to show you what we've put together, here's first, somebody who was at the mosque talking about what they said behind closed doors.  
Then there's the cop telling us what exactly this guy did, so listen, watch.


NOOR, FMR OKLAHOMA MOSQUE ATTENDEE:  To the public, the mosque will not promote terrorism or any kind of radical acts.  But when they're among friends and congregants only, they will promote the teachings of Islam, which include the offer to non-Muslims, the choice rather that you must convert, live under Islamic rule, or be fought against Jihad for the sake of Allah.

SGT. JEREMY LEWIS, MOORE OK POLICE DEPARTMENT:  After conducting interviews with co-workers of Nolen, information was obtained that he recently -- started trying to convert some of his co-workers to the Muslim religion.  
He encountered the first victim, Colleen Hufford.  He did kill Colleen, and did sever her head.

KELLY:  He was actually in the process of beheading you?



KELLY:  So you see the chronology.  The one saying, they teach, you convert or you could be killed?  Then he goes to work, asks people to convert, they don't.  Then, yes there was an instant that set him off, but what does he do?  He shows up and starts killing people.

ROGERS:  Influence...


KELLY:  That's for Mary Ellen, sorry.

ROGERS:  I'm sorry.

O'TOOLE:  It's absolutely horrifying, but here's the behavioral assessment of this.  You can have a radicalized terrorist who for example, goes home and kills his spouse or comes to work and acts out violently.  The fact that he has that in his background does not make every act of violence an act of terrorism.  But I completely get the idea that this was really behaviorally an act of terror.  And my position is that being able to present a strong motivation in court with all these other things brought in, would be the best of really both worlds, so that the jury can understand, really what made this guy tick.

KELLY:  So many people would like to see the Charleston murders charged as an act of terror.  And I completely understand that.  And there is a real question, though, whether that same standard should apply here, where this man clearly terrorized his victims.  And some would argue meets the legal definition as well.  Thank you both so much for your expertise.

ROGERS:  You're welcome.

KELLY:  And when we come back, a special message from Traci Johnson.


KELLY:  Tracy turned 44 the day of our interview, given a second chance at life.  She bears a reminder of what happened that day, the scars, yes, but also this, a declaration that she is a fighter and a survivor, and that's how we will remember her too, good night.

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