Salisbury woman facing death sentence hospitalized

SALISBURY, N.C. — A woman charged with murder in Rowan County has been hospitalized after authorities say she injured herself after learning she might face a death sentence if convicted.

Sixty-one-year-old Marlene Johnson is accused of killing a woman Johnson said was sleeping with her estranged husband.

Johnson was being evaluated at a hospital Tuesday night. Her injuries include a separated shoulder and a gash to the head.

Deputies say Johnson will be guarded continuously while in the hospital.

A report says she jumped backward to the floor from an upper bunk in her cell.

The sheriff's office said Johnson had shown no signs of wanting to injure herself before she was notified that prosecutors plan to seek a death sentence if she is convicted in the July death of 62-year-old Shirley Pierce.

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