Prosecutors seeking death penalty against Tennessee inmate


Curtis Watson is escorted into a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Ripley, Tenn. Watson is charged with murdering Tennessee Department of Correction department administrator Debra Johnson after he escaped from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in August. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

RIPLEY, Tenn. (AP) — State prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty in the trial of a Tennessee convict charged with killing a corrections administrator and escaping prison on a tractor.

Lauderdale County district attorney Mark Davidson said Tuesday that he has filed a notice of intent to seek death if Curtis Ray Watson is convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of longtime Tennessee Department of Correction administrator Debra Johnson.

Watson has been indicted on 15 counts including premeditated murder and rape. He hasn’t entered a plea in the case.

Judge Joe Walker set an Oct. 26 trial date.

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