Inmate Tries To Harm Herself After Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty In Murder Case

UPDATE: Authorities say Marlene Johnson is being treated at a local hospital for having a separated shoulder and a laceration on the back of her head.  She is expected to recover from her injuries.  Once she is released from the hospital she will return to the Rowan County Jail.

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. –Police say a woman accused of killing another woman tried to harm herself shortly after finding out prosecutors will seek the death penalty in her case. 

Marlene Johnson is accused of stabbing Shirley Pierce to death.  Detectives determined there was an ongoing rivalry between the women. 

Previous court records indicated Johnson thought Pierce was having an affair with her husband. 

Investigators say Johnson climbed onto the top tier of a bunk bed and intentionally jumped backwards off the bed after returning to jail from her earlier court hearing. 

She hit her head on the floor during the attempt to harm herself.  Johnson was taken to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries. 

She will remain under constant guard by law enforcement personnel while being treated at the medical facility.