Friday, December 2

Jury seated in Ricky Dubose death penalty case, trial set to begin Wednesday

Corrections officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica were shot aboard a prison bus while driving inmates through Putnam County in June 2017.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Lawyers will make their opening statements next week in the double murder trial of Ricky Dubose.

He’s one of two prison inmates accused of killing corrections officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica aboard a transport bus in Putnam County five years ago.

The killings set off a manhunt across several states. Dubose and fellow inmate Donnie Rowe were later caught in Tennessee.

District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale says they’ve selected 12 jurors and five alternates from a jury pool in Brunswick to hear Dubose’s case. Jury selection started almost a month ago on May 2.

The trial begins Wednesday, June 1, at the Putnam County courthouse. A jury convicted Rowe last year on all counts and he’s currently serving life without possible parole.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills says both he and the officers’ families were disappointed that the jury didn’t vote for the death penalty in Rowe’s case.


June 13, 2017: Investigators say Ricky Dubose and Donnie Rowe were being transported on a bus when they overpowered the two guards, killed them, and escaped. It happened on Highway 16 W of Sparta near Eatonton around 6:45 a.m. There were 33 prisoners and two guards on the bus.

A man was driving on the highway when he saw the stopped bus and thought it was part of a work detail. When he stopped his car, he was robbed at gunpoint. The driver was unharmed and flagged down the next car for help.

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During a media briefing that night, Sheriff Howard Sills said the two inmates broke into a home in Morgan County earlier that day. The home was ransacked and Dubose and Rowe stole some food and clothes, according to Sills.

June 14, 2017: The search for the two inmates expanded around the Southeast. Authorities said they recovered the vehicle taken by the two escaped inmates near the scene of the house burglary.

That night, a white Ford F-250 was stolen from the Seven Islands Road area of Morgan County.

June 15, 2017: Police in Shelbyville, Tennessee, told the GBI they responded to a home invasion where the two inmates tied two people up and left the scene.

According to Bedford County Sheriff Austin Swing, Dubose and Rowe ditched a vehicle at the base of a hill in Shelbyville, covering the car with grass and branches.

Swing said they forced their way into a home at gunpoint and the couple who lived there spent the next three hours tied up while the fugitives ate their beef stew and pilfered their valuables.

He said the two stole the couple’s Jeep Cherokee and led deputies on a high-speed chase followed by a foot chase down I-24 just south of Murfreesboro.

A nearby homeowner heard the men outside and held them at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived.

RELATED: Two Wilkinson County grads receive scholarships in memory of Sgt. Curtis Billue

RELATED: ‘You stole my brother’s life’: Victims’ family members react to Rowe being sentenced to life without parole

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