Curtis Watson writes about his escape: "All I can say is I was headed to visit my mother's grave."

Watson writes that he didn't kill Debra Johnson
Curtis Watson captured.png
Posted at 2:22 PM, Oct 07, 2019

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Why did Curtis Watson escape from prison and then allegedly commit murder?

There was a huge manhunt after Watson escaped from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Lauderdale County in August. He's accused of killing TN corrections administrator Debra Johnson, and Watson has been writing about his escape and his time on the run.

What suddenly drove him to escape? He explains in a series of letters written to his family -- and obtained by Tennessee River Valley News and NewsChannel 5.

In one he talks about the death of his mother: "I was doing okay on my healing and moving on until mom passed. Then all of it came rushing back and anger was leading. All I can say is I was headed to visit my mother's grave."

After the five days on the run Watson writes of just giving up, I "went on foot for as far as I could...I couldn't walk no more. When you saw them put me in the van I was in pain...barely walking on some torn up feet."

The TBI said during the manhunt that Watson was running and hiding. Watson wrote he "did not know all those people were looking for me, and did not know there was a reward."

He says nothing about encountering Johnson -- the woman he accused of sexually assaulting and killing, writing, "I'm no murderer, wrong guy."

But Watson also admitted to being at Johnson's home: "I can't prove my innocence because I escaped...was at her home." And, Watson only mentions Johnson by name once writing: "God Bless Debra Johnson's Family."

Much of Watson letter is rambling where he blames others for his problems. He concedes he escaped, but, denies committing murder.

Watson is currently undergoing a mental evaluation while awaiting a trial that could lead to the death penalty.

These letters could be used as evidence in the case.