Curtis Ray Watson was caught Sunday near Henning, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Parker said Watson had no disciplinary issues since 2007 and was a minimal custody offender.
A Henning resident on Graves Avenue had notified law enforcement earlier Sunday morning when their security camera showed images of Watson. When they looked at the video system, they spotted a man going through their refrigerator.
Once Watson closed the refrigerator door, Ann Taylor recognized Watson from his beard, and the couple called 911.
Watson had been serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to especially aggravated kidnapping in Henry County.
His sentence began in 2012, and he was scheduled to be released in 2025.
Prison officials realized Watson was missing at 11 a.m. Johnson's body was discovered at 11:30 when coworkers noticed she had not reported to work.
Johnson, 64, was found dead soon afterward in her home on the prison grounds.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections said the 44-year-old was arrested just before 11 a.m. Sources say he was picked up in the 600 block of Caroline Street. Authorities say Watson will be arraigned this week.
"He was obviously weathered from his time in the outside", Rausch said.
Tennessee officials have issued a blue alert - only the third since the designation's inception in 2011 - which is done when a law enforcement officer is killed, sustains life-threatening injuries or is missing.
"The family of Curtis Watson would like to extend their deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of Ms Debra Johnson", Pole said.
TBI secured warrants for first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary, and aggravated sexual battery on Thursday.