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Ricky Dubose found guilty in 2017 killing of two corrections officers

Dubose was found guilty of felony and malice murder in the killing of two corrections officers in 2017.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga. — The jury in the Ricky Dubose trial reached a unanimous verdict on Monday on the 5th anniversary of Dubose initial crime spree. Dubose was found guilty of felony and malice murder in the killing of two corrections officers in 2017. 

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.

During the opening arguments, District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale says Dubose went on a crime spree in 2017 with his "partner in crime" Donnie Rowe.

During closing arguments, Dubose's attorneys stated this case is a terrible crime committed by a man who is 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.

Barksdale and his team said it was up to the defense to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dubose was mentally ill at the time of act which impairs judgment and behavior and recognizes reality.

The jury sided with the prosecution and convicted Dubose on all counts. 

Next up in the case is sentencing. Dubose will either be sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole. The penalty phase will begin Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.

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

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.

TIMELINE IN COURT

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.

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

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

Feb. 16, 2022:  During a pretrial hearing, Dubose's legal team argued he has an intellectual disability that should take the death penalty off the table.

May 2022: Jury selection for Dubose trial begins.

June 1, 2022: Dubose's trial begins

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