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Georgia prisoner sentenced to death in guard killings

Atlanta Journal Constitution 2017

FILE – In this June 21, 2017 file photo, Ricky Dubose, left, and Donnie Russell Rowe enter the Putnam County Courthouse in Eatonton, Georgia. Dubose was found guilty on Monday, June 13, 2022 of the murder of two guards while escaping a prison bus five years ago. Dubose and Donnie Rowe escaped the bus together in Putnam County, southeast of Atlanta, and were arrested days later in Tennessee. Rowe was found guilty of the murder of the guards last year. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool, File)

EATONTON, Ga. – A Georgia prisoner convicted of killing two guards while escaping a prison transport bus five years ago has been sentenced to death.

A jury on Thursday unanimously sentenced Ricky Dubose to death in the shooting deaths of Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue, news outlets reported. The jury found him guilty of murder, among other things.

A second prisoner charged with the murders, Donnie Rowe, was convicted of murder in September. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole after the jury couldn’t agree whether he should be sentenced to death.

Dubose and Rowe escaped the bus together in Putnam County, southeast of Atlanta, on June 13, 2017 and were arrested days later in Tennessee.

Dubose was accused of firing the gun that killed the officers after he and Rowe slipped out of the handcuffs and charged through an unlocked gate at the front of the bus. Prosecutors say Dubose seized one of the officers’ guns and shot Monica, the guard, and then Billue, the driver, both in the head. Surveillance cameras on the bus recorded the violent escape, and about 30 other detainees witnessed the killings.

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An attorney for Dubose had conceded in her opening statement that Dubose was guilty, but said the jury should find him guilty and mentally handicapped or guilty but mentally ill. That would have made him unfit for the death penalty.

Prosecutors dismissed the defense arguments, saying Dubose was an intelligent and calculated killer.

Dubose, 29, was already serving a 20-year sentence for an armed robbery and assault in Elbert County in 2015 when he escaped. He too had previously been in prison.

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https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/06/19/georgia-prisoner-sentenced-to-die-in-guard-killings/ Georgia prisoner sentenced to death in guard killings

Sarah Y. Kim

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