Breaking News
More () »

Everything you need to know about the upcoming Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose death penalty trials

Rowe and Dubose are the two inmates accused of killing two corrections officers in Putnam County in 2017. It spawned a manhunt across the Southeast.

EATONTON, Ga. — As jury selection in the upcoming trial of Donnie Rowe continues, we're taking a look back at the case.

Rowe, along with fellow inmate Ricky Dubose, are accused of shooting and killing two corrections officers -- Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica -- in Putnam County in June 2017.

The killings and their escape led to a manhunt that ended days later in Tennessee.

Rowe is the first to be tried in the case with Dubose's trial slated for spring 2022.


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.


June 20, 2017: Dubose and Rowe make their first appearance in court. District Attorney Stephen Bradley requests the death penalty.

Nov 29, 2018: A trial date for Ricky Dubose is set for Sept. 2019.

Jan - March 2019: Hearings move jury selection for the trial to Grady County in southwest Georgia. The jury will then be transported to Putnam County.

June 2019: Inmates on the bus in June 2017 sue the Georgia Department of Corrections and prison officials, saying their civil rights were violated. They claim they were injured during or after the June 13 fatal shootings. The inmates also blamed the shootings on the Department of Corrections and their failure to follow procedures.

Aug 2019: Dubose's trial is delayed to allow time for mental status testing.

Oct 2019: The inmates' lawsuit is dismissed.

Nov 2019: An investigator is charged with passing contraband to Dubose in prison.

Dec 2019: Dubose's trial is set for July 2020.

Feb 2021: Rowe's trial scheduled for April gets moved to August due to the coronavirus pandemic.

May 2021: Charges against the investigator accused of passing contraband to Dubose are dropped.

Aug 30, 2021: Jury selection for Rowe's trial starts in Grady County. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

May 2022: Ricky Dubose's trial is scheduled to begin in May.


Dubose was serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery, aggravated assault and theft by taking from a 2014 case out of Elbert Co. In August 2010, Dubose was charged with several fraud and theft charges in Madison County. He also had a robbery charge in Gwinnett County in that same month.

Rowe was in prison for armed robbery, possession of a firearm during a crime and aggravated assault. He was serving a life sentence with no parole from a 2001 case in Bibb County.


Veteran correctional officers Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, were killed in the incident.

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, officers Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, were hired in October 2009 and July 2007, respectively.

Billue would have marked his 10th anniversary with the department in 2017.

Greg Dozier, Department of Corrections Commissioner, said both officers leave behind families and described them as "great officers."


'4 years is too long': Monica family speaks for first time since Putnam prison bus deaths

'A link in our family chain was broken': Billue family discusses life since correction officer death

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out