New judge denies bond for Johnson on murder charge

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 5, 2013

The woman charged with killing Shirley Goodnight Pierce in her Kannapolis home last month has been ordered held without bond.
Marlene Postell Johnson’s bond for the first-degree murder charge had been set at $450,000 last week by District Court Judge Kevin Eddinger, who increased it to $1 million during a hearing this morning.
But at a hearing this afternoon on a related burglary charge, Superior Court Judge Julia Gullet took away the possibility of bond on the murder charge.
Gullett kept the bond on the burglary charge at $500,000.
Pierce’s fiance discovered the 62-year-old’s body in her home the morning of July 23. She had multiple stab wounds and had died in an attack so violent, Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook said in court last week, that the knife blade was broken off in her neck.
There were also signs that Pierce had been beaten, search warrants said.
Johnson, 61, was arrested and charged in Pierce’s death 12 hours after her body was discovered.
An arrest warrant said Johnson broke into the Evandale Road home between 10 p.m. on July 22 and 6 a.m. on July 23 intending to kill her.
Investigators found pieces of Pierce’s recent mail inside Johnson’s car and home during a search, according to search warrants. In court last week, the district attorney said Johnson also had surveillance photos of Pierce and aerial photos of her home and neighborhood.
Johnson was charged Thursday with felony first-degree burglary. She was in court on Monday for a first appearance on the burglary charge, the same day a grand jury convened to consider indictments in her case and others.
Court records said Johnson believed Pierce was having an affair with her estranged husband, Ervin Johnson. Cook said during the hearing last week there was no evidence Pierce had an affair with Johnson’s husband, who is the chief financial officer at Tuscarora Yarns, where Pierce also worked.
According to search warrants, Pierce had filed multiple complaints and gotten restraining orders against Johnson over the past several years, saying that Johnson had attacked her at a fundraiser and a restaurant, and had harassed her repeatedly.
The day of her arrest Johnson approached a Huntersville Police officer asking if law enforcement was looking for her in a homicide. She told the officer she had an alibi. Court records say that friend Timothy Connor initially told authorities Johnson was at his house during the time of the murder, but he later recanted and said Johnson asked him to lie.
Johnson remains in the Rowan County Detention Center.