On first day of murder trial, fiance of victim describes finding her body

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The fiance of Shirley Pierce, the woman killed in her Kannapolis home in 2013, gave emotional testimony in the trial of Pierce's accused killer, Marlene Johnson.

Chuck Reeves recalled how he found the 62-year-old when he went to her home on July 23, 2013.

"Oh my God. I just arrived here to my girlfriend's house. I think she's been killed," Reeves said when he called 911.

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Reeves asked if the dispatcher was sending police. The dispatcher told him she was "sending everybody."

"Do you think she's beyond help?" the dispatcher asked. "Yes," Reeves answered.

According to The Salisbury Post, Reeves testified that the operator asked him to go back and check for a pulse to confirm whether Pierce was dead.

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Reeves told the operator there was blood all over the bedroom floor and what appeared to him to be bleach and wipe marks on the floor.

"Can you tell if she was stabbed or shot?" the operator asked.

Reeves said he could not tell, just that there was blood everywhere.

"I can't go back in there," he said.

In court Tuesday, Reeves and the jury looked at photographs that showed Pierce's body in the bathtub. While describing the state of Pierce's body, Reeves became emotional and members of Pierce's family could be heard sobbing, according to The Salisbury Post.

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Within hours of the discovery of the body of Shirley Pierce, deputies had arrested Johnson.

According to court records filed prior to the alleged murder, Johnson believed that Pierce had an affair with Johnson's husband, Ervin Johnson, an executive at the textile company where Pierce worked.

Those records showed a history of trouble between the women dating back to 2007.

Those records also state that no evidence of an affair could be found.

Marlene Johnson could face life in prison if convicted.

The trial is being held in Rowan County Superior Court.

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