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Ricky Dubose sentenced to death for killing two Georgia corrections officers

Dubose was given the death penalty on all counts. The jury returned their decision on his fate on Thursday.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga. — Ricky Dubose, the man found guilty of murdering a pair of corrections officers has been sentenced to death.

Dubose was found guilty of felony and malice murder in the killing of two corrections officers in 2017 and was given the death penalty on all four counts. 

He’s one of two prison inmates who killed 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.

The defense team asked for a mistrial on Tuesday morning claiming the prosecution did not provide a particular box of evidence from the medical center at SMU. 

Afterward, the two sides began their arguments in the penalty phase. Dubose's defense attorneys said they accept the verdict but asked the jury to give him a severe punishment less than death. 

Dubose’s lead attorney Gabrielle Pittman encouraged the jury to choose justice over vengeance in the closing arguments of the penalty phase. She said Dubose isn’t the worst criminal ever and death isn’t the only appropriate punishment.

District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale said in his closing the jury shouldn’t be charmed or fooled by Dubose. Barksdale called Dubose an evil man and told the jury their job is to put him to death before showing photos of the two corrections officer dead at the scene.

The prosecution said their goal was to prove Dubose's guilt but was seeking the death penalty because anything less than that is just a piece of paper. 

In Sept. 2021, a jury convicted Rowe of charges in connection with the case, including felony and malice murder. Rowe is now serving life without the possibility of parole.

Unlike Rowe, Dubose was unable to avoid the death penalty despite his team of attorneys' efforts to convince the jury the death penalty should not be given because he was intellectually disabled and mentally ill.

The defense presented records showing Dubose was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and did not have proper prenatal care.

They explained his mother smoked during the pregnancy, causing problems even before he was born and he struggled to walk, speak and go to school.

Before the bus attack, Dubose was referred to the Baldwin State prison doctor for medication. He never received the medication before the shooting.

The jury sided with the prosecution and convicted Dubose in a unanimous verdict on the 5th anniversary of Dubose initial crime spree. Three days later, they decided his fate would be the death penalty.

The last Georgia resident to be sentenced to death was Tiffany Moss who was convicted in 2019 of starving her 10-year-old stepdaughter to death then burning her body.

As required by Georgia law, a judge is required to set a date for the death penalty to be carried out between 20 and 60 days from when a defendant is sentenced. However, Dubose’s sentence will not be carried out during that time frame because death penalty sentences have an automatic appeal process.

CASE TIMELINE

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.

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.

PREVIOUS CASE COVERAGE

Ricky Dubose found guilty in 2017 killing of two corrections officers

Defense, prosecution argue Ricky Dubose's mental competency in Putnam County murder trial

'It's taken a remarkably long time': Jury selection begins in Ricky Dubose death penalty trial

 

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