Employee killed in Tennessee prison murder remembered


HENNING, Tenn. (WTHR) — The woman who died in a Tennessee prison murder is being remembered by the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC).

Debra Johnson was a correctional administrator at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary. She was found dead in the prison Wednesday, Aug. 7, kicking off a manhunt for the prime suspect who escaped from custody, Curtis Ray Watson.

Watson was on the run for days. Authorities finally caught him and took him back into custody Sunday, Aug. 11.

Debra Johnson began her career with the Department of Correction on January 30, 1981 as a Correctional Officer. She led...

Posted by Tennessee Department of Correction on Thursday, August 8, 2019

Johnson had been a TDOC employee since January 1981. She served in a number of roles including sergeant, deputy warden and warden.

In a statement, TDOC said Johnson was a mentor and role model for other employees and she would be missed.

Johnson is survived by two sons, a daughter, her mother and two sisters.

A nonprofit organization set up a GoFundMe page in her honor.

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