North Carolina

Inmate who killed prison official and escaped on tractor is captured, TN officials say

Tennessee sheriff recounts the moment police captured escaped convicts

Sheriff Michael Fitzhugh describes the moments leading up to the capture of two Georgia inmates who killed two prison guards. The men were caught on Thursday evening in the rural community of Christiana, Tennessee, ending a three-day manhunt. They
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Sheriff Michael Fitzhugh describes the moments leading up to the capture of two Georgia inmates who killed two prison guards. The men were caught on Thursday evening in the rural community of Christiana, Tennessee, ending a three-day manhunt. They

The inmate who authorities say killed an official and escaped prison on a tractor is back in custody.

Curtis Ray Watson was serving a 15-year sentence for aggravated kidnapping and went missing from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Wednesday, prompting a manhunt, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Authorities say he killed 64-year-old Debra Johnson, a Tennessee Department of Correction administrator who had worked for the state for 38 years, and then escaped, likely on a tractor recovered near the prison, according to the Charlotte Observer.

He was considered “extremely dangerous” and was on the Tennessee State Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Watson was captured Sunday around 11 a.m. in Henning, Tennessee, and is back in custody, the Tennessee Department of Correction said in a release.

He has been charged with the murder of Johnson, the release said.

Watson was originally convicted and sentenced in 2013, the release said.

“The Tennessee Department of Correction’s Office of Investigation and Compliance will continue to work with other agencies to investigate this incident and bring additional charges where appropriate,” the release said.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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