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Authorities: Suspect in 62-year-old’s killing estranged wife of victim’s boss

Authorities say the 62-year-old Kannapolis woman found slain in her home Tuesday worked for the husband of the murder suspect and had filed for a restraining order against her.

Marlene Postell Johnson, 61, of Mooresville, is charged with murdering Shirley Goodnight Pierce, who was found dead at her home Tuesday morning.

She had multiple stab wounds, authorities said at a press conference this morning. They said a medical examiner will rule on the cause of death. Video of the press conference is available here. The second part is available here.

Johnson is the wife of Tuscarora Yarns President and CFO Ervin Johnson. The two are estranged, authorities said during a press conference today. Pierce had worked as an executive assistant at the company’s Mount Pleasant plant.

Authorities did not divulge a suspected motive.

Marlene Johnson was developed as a suspect due to a previous incident, authorities said. In 2011, Johnson was charged with assault inflicting serious injury in Cabarrus County, with Pierce the victim. Johnson was convicted, but her appeal is pending.

Evidence collected from Marlene Johnson’s home led to her arrest, authorities said.

Pierce had filed in Rowan County for a restraining order against Marlene Johnson, authorities said. The restraining order had been served and expired in mid-June.

Rowan sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at the home 9:45 a.m. Tuesday to investigate a suspicious death. They found Pierce dead and began collecting evidence and talking with relatives and neighbors.

Neighbors said Pierce’s fiance, Chuck Reeves, found her dead in her bathtub. Authorities have not confirmed who found her body or where it was found.

Pierce, who lived alone, had worked nearly 11 years as an executive assistant for Tuscarora Yarns, her family said. Before that, she worked as an administrative assistant for Humpy Wheeler, former president of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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