ROWAN COUNTY, S.C. -- An inmate at the Rowan County Detention Center hurt herself Tuesday afternoon, after learning the death penalty would be a possibility if found guilty.
Marlene Postell Johnson, awaiting trial for the murder of Shirley Goodnight Pierce, appeared in a scheduled hearing in the morning. The hearing was to determine if this would be tried as a capital murder case seeking the death penalty, and to consider a request for a bond reduction.
It was determined the District Attorney’s Office would seek the death penalty, and the bond reduction request was denied.
Around noon, as the inmates gathering for lunch, the detention officer on duty had just left the housing area. In that time, police say Johnson climbed to the top of a bunk bed, stood and flung her bond backward. Surveillance video shows Johnston’s neck and head hit the floor first as she landed.
Johnson is being treated at an undisclosed hospital. The sheriff's office said Wednesday her injuries are not life-threatening. She suffered a separated shoulder and gash to the back of the head. She's expected to return to the detention center once her treatment is complete.
The sheriff’s office says Johnson has not tried to harm herself before.