Affidavit: Escaped inmate assaulted, strangled prison worker

Authorities say Curtis Ray Watson sexually assaulted and strangled Debra Johnson before escaping


By Jonathan Mattise
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Authorities say a Tennessee prisoner on lawn mowing duty sexually assaulted and strangled a female corrections worker on Wednesday. He escaped and is still at large.

An affidavit filed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation states that 44-year-old Curtis Ray Watson was discovered missing about 11 a.m. Wednesday, several hours after he was seen near the house at West Tennessee State Penitentiary where 64-year-old employee Debra Johnson lived.

This undated photo provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows Curtis Ray Watson. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows Curtis Ray Watson. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via AP)

Watson had been released temporarily for mowing duties at 7 a.m. earlier that day, and had access to a golf cart and a tractor.

The affidavit says co-workers discovered Johnson's body at her home at 11:30 a.m., and that agents found a cord wrapped around her neck.

Authorities are offering a $52,500 reward for information leading to Watson's capture.

Associated Press
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