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Man convicted of killing 2 COs in prison bus escape sentenced to death

Prosecutors portrayed Ricky Dubose as a cunning and calculated killer, one who deserved the ultimate punishment


Ricky Dubose’s accomplice in the murders was convicted last year.

Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

By Joe Kovac Jr.
The Macon Telegraph

EATONTON, Ga. — Ricky Allen “Juvie” Dubose, who last week was convicted of murdering two correctional officers five years ago during a harrowing escape from a Georgia prison transport bus, was on Thursday sentenced to die for his crimes.

Dubose’s accomplice in the murders was convicted last year. That man, Donnie Russell “Whiskey” Rowe Jr., was sentenced to life without parole. A jury in Rowe’s trial, from Grady County in south Georgia, spared Rowe’s life at least in part because it had been Dubose who grabbed one of the officers’ unsecured Glock pistols, aimed it at their heads and squeezed the trigger.

The June 13, 2017, killings of officers Curtis Billue, the bus driver, and Christopher Monica, the watchman on board, happened as the bus loaded with inmates cruised westerly from a state prison in Hancock County through the predawn Putnam County countryside toward a penitentiary in Butts County.

Dubose and Rowe had by then slipped out of their handcuffs, jimmied an unsecured metal gate separating the officers from the prisoners and sprang into the front cabin of the bus. The surprise attack was aided by the officers’ failure to properly lock the gate and other procedural mistakes that included them not double-locking the prisoners’ handcuffs.

When Dubose and Rowe burst through the gate, the bus slid to a halt. In the commotion, Dubose fired the fatal shots and he and Rowe kicked their way through a glass door and took off on foot. Within seconds they commandeered the car of an unsuspecting passerby who had been behind the bus, which was now sitting in the middle of the highway south of Lake Oconee.

The killers were captured a couple of days later in Tennessee. Rowe had at the time of the escape been serving a life-without-parole sentence for a conviction in a Bibb County robbery two decades prior. Dubose, from northeast Georgia, was in the second year of a 20-year prison term for robbery and assault cases in Elbert County.

Testimony in Dubose’s trial began June 1 in Putnam Superior Court after jurors were brought in from Glynn County on the southeast Georgia coast.

Dubose’s lawyers had, in the guilty-or-not-guilty phase of the trial, hoped to convince jurors that he was mentally ill.

The killings were recorded by a security camera inside the bus, and his lawyers did not deny that Dubose had been the trigger man. What they had sought was a verdict of “guilty but intellectually disabled” in the first phase of the trial that would have kept Dubose off death row.

Prosecutors portrayed Dubose as a cunning and calculated killer, one who deserved the ultimate punishment.


(c)2022 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.)