Woman gets life for fatal 2015 stabbing

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A woman with a prior murder conviction in Missouri was sentenced to life in prison Friday for stabbing a 71-year-old man to death in DeKalb, Texas, in 2015.

Shirley Ann Falkowski, 56, was convicted of murder Friday in the Aug. 5, 2015, stabbing death of James Earl Johnson. Falkowski was found guilty and sentenced by a jury of five women and seven men at the end of three days of trial at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston, Texas.

Falkowski was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Missouri in 1998 for stabbing a man. The circumstances in the Missouri murder had strong similarities to the case in Bowie County.

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Johnson was stabbed more than 70 times and his body was discovered by staff at his Housing Authority apartment in DeKalb the afternoon of Aug. 5, 2015. DNA testing revealed Johnson’s blood in a car Falkowski had borrowed Aug. 4 and returned to the owner during the day Aug. 5, 2015.

A pair of shoes with tread matching bloody prints at the crime scene was found in a dumpster just outside the trailer where Falkowski was living at the time of Johnson’s death. Falkowski was recorded by a bank camera attempting to withdraw money from an ATM with Johnson’s debit card at around midnight Aug. 5.

Falkowski confessed to committing the crime in February 2019 to Texas Ranger Greg Wilson. She later claimed her confession was false.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter and First Assistant D.A. Kelley Crisp. Falkowski was represented by the Bowie County Public Defenders Office. Fifth District Judge Bill Miller presided over the trial.

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