Published: Mon, August 12, 2019

Escaped prisoner suspected of murdering, sexually assaulting warden is captured

Escaped prisoner suspected of murdering, sexually assaulting warden is captured

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has said he's a suspect in the death of Johnson, a longtime corrections official who was found dead in her home on the prison grounds. So was Watson, who had last been seen on a golf cart outside the home of Debra Johnson, a corrections administrator who lived on prison grounds.

Tennessee officials have issued a blue alert - only the third since the designation's inception in 2011 - which is done when a law enforcement officer is killed, sustains life-threatening injuries or is missing. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said on Twitter that Watson was caught Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019.

"Our community should be relieved that he's back in custody", he said.

Johnson, a 38-year veteran, had been sexually assaulted and a cord was wrapped around her neck, officials said, with the medical examiner declaring it a homicide by strangulation.

Watson was "weathered from his time outside" and had "a number of mosquito bites" and several ticks on him, according to Rausch.

PHOTO: Curtis Ray Watson is seen in this undated booking photo.


The TBI were asked during the press conference whether the Taylor's would get the $57,000 reward for Watson's capture.

Watson, 44, was serving a 15-year sentence on especially aggravated kidnapping since 2013. Within 30 minutes, hundreds of law enforcement were on the scene about 10 miles from the prison where Watson escaped.

Earlier Sunday, Tennessee Department of Correction said a resident in Henning notified authorities that he was spotted on the family's property. He illegally confined his wife while using an aluminum baseball bat in July 2012, court documents showed.

A warrant was issued charging him with first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary and aggravated sexual battery.

Then half an hour later, co-workers were concerned that Johnson had not shown up for work, and sent authorities to her home. Prosecutors were set to determine whether they'd seek the death penalty, Lauderdale County District Attorney Mark Davidson said.

Visibly exhausted, Harvey Taylor expressed relief that the fugitive was back in custody, and acknowledged that the late-night encounter could have ended much differently. His prior conviction for child abuse expired in 2011, authorities said.

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