‘Ma’am, you will die in prison’: Wife kills secretary she thought had an affair with her husband, then faints during sentencing

A North Carolina woman, who killed a woman she mistakenly thought had an affair with her husband, fainted in court on Weds. when she learned she would spend the rest of her life in prison.

WBTV reports that Marlene Postell Johnson (pictured right), 66, was found guilty of murder in connection with the 2013 death of Shirley Pierce, 62. Johnson, thinking her husband was having an affair with Pierce (pictured left), stabbed her in the neck in 2013, killing her. Medical experts testified that the stabbing left the victim in extreme pain for around three to five minutes.

Judge Stuart Albright handed down sentencing this week to Johnson, explaining that despite her arguing the sentence and denying involvement, the DNA left at the crime scene inside the victim’s Kannapolis home contradicted her statement.

“The DNA squarely contradicts everything that you just said,” Albright said. “Ma’am, you will die in prison, that is my order.”

According to court documents, Pierced worked as an executive administrative assistant for Johnson’s estranged husband, Ervin Johnson, the president and CFO of Tuscarora Yarns. Along with mistakingly thinking the pair had an affair, Johnson also sent threatening text messages to a 15-year-old boy’s number that she thought belonged to Pierce.

The then-teen, Alex Norton, now 20, testified in court, describing the message exchange with Johnson, according to the Salisbury Post.

Johnson: “Back off, you will not get Ervin over my dead body, you skanky w***e.”.

Norton: “I think you have the wrong number.”

Johnson: “Is this Shirley Pierce?”


Johnson: “Sorry.”

After Pierce fainted, several deputies lifted her up and tried to remove her from the courtroom, but Albright instructed them to hold her up and make her stay and listen to the impact statements of the victim’s family.

“As a Christian I’m supposed to be forgiving,” Pierce’s daughter, Tracy Brown said during sentencing. “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.”

Johnson’s legal team said they plan to appeal the conviction.

[Feature Photo: Marlene Johnson and Shirley Pierce/Police Handout, Facebook]