Family, friends bid goodbye to slain corrections employee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hundreds of family and friends gathered in a Tennessee church to bid goodbye to a beloved correctional administrator who was killed last week by an escaped inmate that sparked a four-day manhunt.

The funeral service was held Friday for 64-year-old Debra Johnson, who worked for the Department of Correction for nearly 40 years overseeing wardens in multiple prisons in middle and western Tennessee.

Authorities say the 44-year-old Curtis Ray Watson was on lawn mowing duties at West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Aug. 7 when he went to Johnson’s home on prison grounds and killed her. Authorities say Watson then escaped on a tractor.

Authorities arrested him four days later after he was recorded on surveillance cameras outside a home in Henning, 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the prison.

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