Family and friends remember Corrections Official killed by an escaped inmate


NASHVILLE, TN (CBS) – Friends and loved ones gathered in Nashville, Tennessee to remember and say goodbye to a corrections official who investigators say was killed by an escaped inmate.

The funeral for Debra Johnson was held Friday at The Temple Church in Nashville.

Johnson was an administrator who worked for the Tennessee Department of Correction for nearly 40 years and was planning to retire this year. She worked for the State Agency’s West Region.

According to Investigators, inmate Curtis Watson escaped the prison on a tractor and killed Johnson before his escape from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary.

Authorities say Johnson was found sexually assaulted and strangled in her home on the corrections department’s property. A manhunt eventually led to Watson’s recapture four days later. A judge ruled the Tennessee convict could face death if convicted of first-degree murder.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Debra Johnson’s family. She leaves behind three children, seven grandchildren, and two siblings.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.