Death penalty sought for escaped inmates in deaths of two corrections officers
Posted June 22
PUTNAM COUNTY, GA — The escaped inmates accused of fatally shooting two corrections officers in Putnam County appeared in court Wednesday after being extradited back to Georgia from Tennessee.
Ricky DuBose and Donnie Rowe had their first appearance hearing in the Putnam County courthouse. They're both charged with murder in the deaths of officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica.
Several media members were in the courtroom, including CBS46's Adam Harding, who says both inmates stared straight ahead as Judge Brenda Trammell read the charges against them. No bond was issued for either inmate. State prosecutors told a judge the district attorney will pursue the death penalty.
The sister of slain corrections officer Curtis Billue was at the hearing Wednesday morning and says her brother was a wonderful person and will be missed.
"I just will always remember him as being my hero," said Denise Billue.
Billue says when she saw the escaped inmates enter the courtroom, she couldn't understand why she could take another person's life.
"When I first laid eyes on them, all I could do was think, 'how could you kill two innocent men who were only doing their jobs?" continued Billue. "I immediately forgave them but that doesn't excuse their behavior."
The fatal shootings happened in the early morning hours of June 13 on Highway 16 between Eatonton and Sparta, about 80 miles east of Atlanta. Authorities said the inmates were being transported from the Baldwin County State Prison in Milledgeville to the Georgia Diagnostic Classification Prison near Jackson when they overpowered the two officers, one of whom was driving the transport bus. They disarmed one of the officers and fatally shot both, officials said.
A two-day manhunt ensued before the inmates were caught in a rural area of Tennessee, near the city of Shelbyville.
Rowe, a repeat offender currently serving life without parole, was imprisoned after being convicted on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault. DuBose was imprisoned after being found guilty of armed robbery, aggravated assault, credit card fraud and theft by taking.
The corrections officers killed were later identified as 42 year-old Christopher Monica and 58 year-old Curtis Billue. Monica had worked for the facility for nearly eight years after being hired in October of 2009. Billue was nearing his 10th anniversary with the facility after being hired in July of 2007.
Both officers have been laid to rest.
A $130,000 reward was issued for information leading to the capture of the inmates. Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills says the reward will be paid out, it just isn't clear yet who will receive it.