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 four 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.