Prison officers say a West Tennessee State Penitentiary inmate charged with killing a corrections administrator before he escaped was seen riding a tractor outside a lawn mowing shop at the facility about 30 minutes before a search for him began.
Curtis Ray Watson appeared Wednesday before a judge during a hearing in a Lauderdale County court.
A judge is expected to rule whether there’s enough evidence to present the case to a grand jury, which will consider whether to formally indict Watson on murder and escape charges.
Authorities say Watson was on lawn care duties at the prison near Henning on August 7.
Investigators say Watson sexually assaulted and killed corrections administrator Debra Johnson at her home on prison grounds.
Authorities say Watson escaped on the tractor.
He was found four days later, after an intense manhunt.