Sheriff: Woman fatally stabbed estranged husband's assistant

Woman found dead in home
Published: Jul. 23, 2013 at 8:26 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM EDT
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Marlene Johnson is the suspect in the killing of Shirley Pierce
Marlene Johnson is the suspect in the killing of Shirley Pierce
Shirley Goodnight Pierce (Source: Facebook)
Shirley Goodnight Pierce (Source: Facebook)


A Mooresville woman has been arrested and charged with the murder of her estranged husband's female assistant.

Marlene Postell Johnson, 61, was arrested shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning and placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under no bond. 

According to the Rowan County Sheriff's Office, the body of 62-year-old Shirley Goodnight Pierce, of Kannapolis, was found in her along the 100-block of Evandale Road around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Pierce worked as the executive assistant to Ervin Johnson, the Chief Financial Officer of Tuscarora Yarns.  Ervin Johnson is the estranged husband of Marlene Johnson.

Marlene Johnson was previous convicted of assaulting Pierce in 2011, according to Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten. That case is currently being appealed in Cabarrus County.

"Obviously there's something that has been brewing between the two - because of the assault that happened in Cabarrus County hadn't been settled," Auten said.  "And as we move forward, maybe we can figure out exactly what her motive was."

According to the Rowan County Sheriff's Office, deputies found Pierce's body inside the home after being called out Tuesday morning.

Though it has not been listed as the cause of death, Sheriff Auten said that Pierce had suffered more than one stab wound.

"Let's put it this way, there was more than one, the autopsy will determine that," Auten added.

Investigators told WBTV that Pierce's fiance initially found her body inside the home.

She had a restraining order taken out against Johnson, investigators said on Wednesday.

Pierce's brother, Tony Goodnight, told WBTV Tuesday that his sister had been stabbed to death.

"Shock, I can't believe it," Goodnight told WBTV.  "It'll get harder the more time goes on. Especially if they find someone. I think they will. What would make you kill somebody that probably really did nothing to you?"

Johnson made a first appearance in court on Wednesday.  She has hired the Davis Law firm to represent her in the case.

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