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This Suspected Killer Got Caught After Checking the Wrong Fridge

Curtis Ray Watson was suspected of sexually assaulting a corrections officer, killing her, and escaping on a tractor.

by Kelly Vinett
Aug 12 2019, 3:11pm

A Tennessee couple’s doorbell camera alerted them to an uninvited visitor — a fugitive suspected of murder was rummaging through their outdoor fridge.

In a video captured by a home security camera, Ann and Harvery Taylor could see enough of the intruder’s frame — a tall man wearing baggy camouflage and a backward baseball cap — to identify the man who had escaped from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary about 10 miles away.

When he closed the door to the refrigerator, Ann Taylor immediately identified Watson as the missing man, according to the Washington Post.

“She said, ‘That’s him, that’s him,’” said Harvey Taylor about his wife, recognizing the man whose face had been plastered on “Wanted” posters in Tennessee for the past 5 days, at a news conference on Sunday.

Curtis Ray Watson, 44, was serving a 15-year prison sentence for felony charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated child abuse, but received regular work detail on a farm after exhibiting good behavior.

While on work release, he allegedly sexually assaulted and strangled 64-year-old Debra Johnson, a corrections officer who lived on the premises. Then he fled on a tractor and was target of a massive manhunt, according to the New York Times.

READ: "Mom, they shot me": Chicago cops shot this 12-year-old who was sitting on his bed.

Police authorities listed him as a key suspect in the homicide, and posted pictures of his many demonic tattoos to alert the public, and placed a $57,000 reward for his capture.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation had received a total of 430 tips, but up until Sunday morning, none had led to Watson’s whereabouts.

Until Watson started looking for a beverage outside the Taylor’s home in Henning, Tenn.

After hundreds of law enforcement officials surrounded the area, Watson walked out of a soybean field and surrendered, said David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, at a news conference Sunday.

Pictures of the captured Watson show him pouting and covered in mosquito bites after his 5 nights on the run.

Now, he’s been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated sexual battery and aggravated burglary regarding to Johson’s death, and additional charges for escaping prison.

There’s also a chance he’ll face the death penalty, said District Attorney General Mark Davidson on Sunday.

"Today Curtis Ray Watson went from being an escaped convict to being a criminal defendant," said Davidson.

Cover: This photo provided by The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows Curtis Ray Watson. Authorities say Watson, a convict suspected of killing a corrections administrator before escaping prison on a tractor has been captured. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said on Twitter that Watson was caught Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. (The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via AP)

escaped convict