Escaped inmate previously kidnapped woman, attacked her with aluminum bat, documents show

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. — New details are emerging about Curtis Watson’s initial prison sentence.

FOX13 Investigates reported this week that Watson was behind bars for especially aggravated kidnapping. He was initially charged with rape in that case, according to Paris police documents.

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FOX13 Investigates got its hands on the plea agreement that led to the now-escaped prisoner’s latest sentence.

Watson is now wanted in the murder of Debra Johnson, 64, a 38-year employee of the Tennessee Department of Correction.

In July 2012, Watson was arrested by Paris Police, who accused the Henry County man of aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping, according to documents obtained by FOX13 Investigates.

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Then in December 2012, the charges changed to one count of especially aggravated kidnapping.

Court documents show that Watson “intentionally confined” a victim using an aluminum baseball bat as a deadly weapon. According to court documents, Watson was accused of hitting the victim twice in the head with the bat. He then told the victim he was “going to finish her off.”

In January 2013, Watson took a plea deal, according to documents, and pleaded guilty to especially aggravated kidnapping.

Especially kidnapping charges can lock someone up for 15 to 60 years.

As part of his plea deal, Watson got the minimum sentence: 15 years behind bars, minus time he had already served.

FOX13 Investigates has sent questions pertaining to the agreement to Henry County assistant district attorney Jerald Campbell.

Campbell, who currently oversees the office but was not on the case at the time, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

His office did provide a statement earlier Friday: “Due to the sensitive nature of allegations” made against Watson, Henry County District Attorney’s Office would not make any information available until a FOIA was filed.

FOX13 Investigates did file a FOIA as part of its record researching process.

The former assistant district attorney who oversaw the Watson kidnapping case has also not returned multiple requests for comment.