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Mental evaluation planned for convict in prison escape Curtis Watson

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Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 18:47:21-04

RIPLEY, Tenn. (AP) — A mental evaluation will help decide whether a convict accused of killing a Tennessee corrections administrator before escaping prison is competent to stand trial.

Attorneys for Curtis Ray Watson said during a hearing Wednesday that a forensic evaluation could take place by video conference in October for the two-time felon.

Authorities say Watson was on mowing duties at West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Aug. 7 when he went to Debra Johnson's home on prison grounds and killed the corrections administrator.

Watson then escaped on a tractor and eluded law enforcement for days until his arrest.

Lawyers say the evaluation will likely be done by video because Watson is behind bars at a maximum-security prison in Nashville, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) east of Ripley, where court proceedings are taking place.