Family, friends bid goodbye to slain corrections employee

Family, friends bid goodbye to slain corrections employee
An honor guard made up of corrections officers from various states attends the funeral for Tennessee Department of Correction administrator Debra Johnson Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Officials say inmate Curtis Watson killed Johnson before his escape from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary Aug. 7. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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.