Woman with prior murder conviction pleads not guilty to same charge Tuesday

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A 54-year-old woman who served time in a Missouri state prison for murder entered a not guilty plea to murder Tuesday before a judge in Bowie County, Texas.

Shirley Ann Falkowski, 54, appeared before 5th District Judge Bill Miller for arraignment on a charge of murder stemming from the death of James Earl Johnson in August 2015. Sylvia Delgado of the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office entered a plea of not guilty on Falkowski’s behalf.

Falkowski was convicted of murder in Missouri in 1998. The allegations in both cases are similar.

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Miller set Falkowski’s case for pretrial hearings June 24 and Aug. 19 but did not set a trial date. Miller said Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter is going to check to see if there are any issues in terms of getting lab reports from the state crime lab.

Falkowski was arrested in February in connection with the Aug. 5, 2015, stabbing death of Johnson, who was discovered dead in his DeKalb, Texas, apartment on Oak Street. Witnesses allegedly reported seeing Johnson and Falkowski together Aug. 4, 2015.

Falkowski was interviewed by Texas Rangers on Aug. 7, 2015. At that time she allegedly claimed Johnson had given her his debit card to get cash for cigarettes but said that it did not work because she didn’t have the correct PIN number. Investigators tracked down the white car she was seen driving at the bank and spoke to the owner.

The owner allegedly reported that he had loaned Falkowski his white four-door Pontiac because she needed it for a move. The car was seized by investigators and a search revealed a blood stain. A sample of the stain allegedly matched Johnson’s DNA.

Falkowski was interviewed a second time Feb. 12, 2019, by Texas Ranger Greg Wilson at the DeKalb police department. Falkowski allegedly confessed to stabbing Johnson in August 2015 at the February interview this year.

Online sources show Falkowski pleaded guilty and received a 12-year term for second-degree murder in St. Louis, Mo., in September 1998. She is currently being held in the Bowie County jail with bail set at $1 million.

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