Curtis Ray Watson mugshot

Curtis Ray Watson

RIPLEY, Tenn. (AP) — A judge told a Tennessee convict accused of killing a corrections administrator and escaping prison that he could face death if convicted of first-degree murder.

Curtis Ray Watson appeared before Judge Janice Craig in a video arraignment Wednesday in Lauderdale County court.

Watson's public defender Bo Burk made no comments in court and a plea was not entered.

Watson was brought to the Lauderdale County Justice Center but didn't appear in person before the judge after his lawyer requested the video arraignment. Only the judge was able to see Watson through her bench camera.

Authorities say the 44-year-old Watson was on lawn mowing duties at West Tennessee State Penitentiary on Aug. 7 when he went to 64-year-old Debra Johnson's home on prison grounds and killed her. Authorities say Watson then escaped on a tractor.

Watson eluded authorities until his arrest Sunday.