‘Ma’am, you will die in prison’ – Judge to defendant
Marlene Postell Johnson, collapsed in court as she is found guilty and sentenced to life for first-degree murder
Johnson, 66, killed her estranged husband’s secretary in a jealous rage over fears they were having an affair
62-year-old Shirley Pierce was stabbed through the neck at her home. Her fiance found her body on the morning of July 23, 2013 – She had been stabbed with such force that the handle of the knife had snapped off, leaving the blade impaled. The handle was never found.
Marlene Postell Johnson, 66, was convicted Wednesday in North Carolina, collapsed in the Rowan County courthouse as verdict and sentence were read
Pierce worked with Johnson’s estranged husband, the CFO of Tuscarora Yarn
Killer’s motive revealed in threatening texts she accidentally sent to 15-year-old
Her defense team puzzled observers by submitting no evidence at trial, and declined making an opening statement
Johnson She had a prior conviction for assaulting Pierce in 2011, was arrested within hours of the murder coming to light
Marlene Postell Johnson, seen in court, was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday. She will spend the rest of her days in jail
A woman in Salisbury, North Carolina collapsed after hearing her sentence at the end of a murder trial.
On trial accused of stabbing to death her husband’s secretary in a fit of jealous rage five years ago, she has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Marlene Postell Johnson, 66, was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday for the 2013 slaying of 62-year-old Shirley Pierce, who was stabbed through the neck at her Kannapolis home.
Going into a tirade of protestations Johnson [left], said: “I disagree with the decision. I am innocent. I was never there. I would not hurt anybody. I would not have killed Shirley Pierce,” Johnson said following the announcement of the verdict, WBTV reported.
However, unimpressed Judge Stuart Albright responded: “The DNA squarely contradicts everything that you just said,” and then after giving Johnson a sentence of life without parole, said “Mam, you will die in prison, that is my order.”
Shirley Pierce’s fiance found Pierce stabbed to death inside her Kannapolis home in July of 2013.
Johnson reportedly killed Pierce in the mistaken belief that Pierce was having an affair with Johnson’s estranged husband.
Pierce worked with Johnson’s estranged husband, Ervin Johnson at Tuscarora Yarns in Mount Pleasant. Ervin Johnson, was the president and CFO of Tuscarora Yarns on the outskirts of Charlotte, where Pierce also worked as an executive administrative assistant.
The killer’s motive was revealed in court through threatening text messages she accidentally sent to a 15-year-old boy, thinking he was the victim Pierce.
Marlene Postell Johnson mistakenly sent a text message in July 2013 to a 15-year-old making threats against someone she thought was Shirley Goodnight Pierce.
Two days later, Pierce was found dead inside her Kannapolis home.
Rowan County investigators all along have maintained that Marlene Johnson killed Pierce, because she believed Pierce was having an affair with her estranged husband.
Johnson reportedly murdered Shirley Pierce [photo], viciously stabbing her through the neck at her home. Her fiance found her body on the morning of July 23, 2013
The text recipient, Alex Norton, now 20, testified that on the night of July 21, 2013, he received a bizarre text from an unfamiliar number, the Salisbury Post reported.
‘Back off, you will not get Ervin over my dead body, you skanky w***e,’ the message read.
‘I think you have the wrong number,’ Norton testified he responded.
‘Is this Shirley Pierce?’ was the response.
‘No,’ replied Norton, to which he got the response ‘Sorry’.
Investigators said that the threatening texts had come from a cell phone registered to Marlene Johnson.
Less than 48 hours after the bizarre messages, on the morning of July 23, Pierce’s fiance Chuck Reeves found her body at her home on Evandale Road in Kannapolis.
She had been stabbed through the neck with such force that the handle of the knife had snapped off, leaving the blade impaled. The handle was never found.
Johnson was arrested within hours of the murder coming to light. She had a prior conviction for assaulting Pierce in 2011.
Pierce’s fiance Chuck Reeves found her body at her home in Kannapolis on the morning of July 23, 2013
The court heard that Pierce had filed numerous restraining orders against Johnson. The final restraining order granted by the courts expired just weeks before the murder.
Court documents suggest tension had been brewing between Johnson and Pierce for years.
In 2010 Pierce was granted was granted a temporary restraining order against Johnson after she claimed Johnson physically assaulted and slapped her in the face at a fundraiser.
In 2011 Pierce applied for another restraining order and said Johnson “repeatedly punched and kicked” her outside of a Concord restaurant.
She submitted pictures of a bruised thigh and a punctured hand. She also told a judge that Johnson had accused her of having an affair with her husband. Johnson was later found guilty of the crime in court and judge granted Pierce a more permanent restraining order.
After the murder, a search of Johnson’s home revealed that she had surveillance photos of Pierce, as well as aerial photos of Pierce’s home and workplace and bills that belonged to Pierce.
Blood DNA from the crime scene matched Johnson, investigators said.
Johnson’s defense attorneys, James Davis and Jay White, surprised observers by declining to offer an opening statement and submitting no evidence during trial.
Johnson did not testify in her own defense. Her lawyers did offer numerous objections to the prosecution, arguing that forensic evidence had been overlooked or improperly gathered.
A jury deliberated for about two hours before bringing back the guilty verdict.
According to WSOCTV, Johnson slumped in court when the verdict was read, deputies rushed to her side and began to remove her from the room.
Johnson is seen in court during the trial. Rowan County investigators all along have maintained that Marlene Johnson killed Pierce, because she believed Pierce was having an affair with her estranged husband
Johnson’s defense team bizarrely declined to offer an opening statement at the begining and submitted no evidence during trial.
The judge ordered the deputies to halt, and for Johnson to remain and listen as he individually polled the jurors to confirm they were unanimous.
‘I disagree with the decision. I am innocent. I was never there. I would not hurt anybody. I would not have killed Shirley Pierce,’ Johnson told Judge Albright following the announcement of the verdict.
‘The DNA squarely contradicts everything that you just said,’ the judge replied.
He then sentenced her to life in prison without parole.
Pierce’s daughter, Tracy Brown, spoke out in court prior to sentencing, directly addressing Johnson.
‘As a Christian I’m supposed to be forgiving,’ Brown said.
‘But I could never forgive you for what you did, and if that keeps me from going to heaven, then I’ll meet you in hell.’