Funeral for West Tennessee State Penitentiary administrator Debra Johnson

Local In TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Family, friends and colleagues gathered Friday to say their final goodbyes to the Tennessee Department of Correction employee killed last week.  

The funeral for Debra Johnson was held at Temple Church on Kings Lane in North Nashville.  

Services began at noon for the 38-year-veteran of the department who was murdered last Wednesday at her home on the grounds of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary. 

Investigators said Johnson was strangled and sexually assaulted by Curtis Watson, who was captured Sunday after a five-day manhunt. 

A visitation was held Thursday at her home church of 15th Avenue Baptist Church.  Johnson’s family was greeted by members of the Correctional Peace Officer Foundation. Johnson would make the two-hour trip to church every Sunday, where she was an usher.  

“She loved everybody. She came in with a big hug every Sunday when she came in, she was just a person you won’t meet again. It’s rocked every last one of us. It’s just bad. or someone to come from Henning, on the weekends to see their parents, their children and fall in that door and fall in line with ushers, that says a lot for you [on Debra Johnson]” said Janis Williams, also an usher at 15th Avenue Baptist Church. 

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