No decision yet on $130K reward offered to find two Georgia fugitives

No decision yet on $130K reward offered to find two Georgia fugitives

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BOB ANDRES
Ricky Dubose (left) and Donnie Russsell Rowe sit before a judge in the Putnam County courthouse in Eatonton on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. The pair is accused of killing two correctional officers while escaping from a prison transport bus. A state prosecutor said Wednesday that he will seek the death penalty against them. They were denied bond. (BOB ANDRES/AJC)

The massive manhunt didn’t end quite as spectacularly as first thought. Instead of being held at gunpoint, the two fugitives accused of killing two Georgia prison guards surrendered in middle Tennessee. 

So should anyone get the reward money?

Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe were wanted men, and a $130,000 reward was offered as bounty. Last week, the two were arrested, and on Wednesday they made their first appearance in a Georgia courtroom. But the hefty reward has not yet gone to anyone, the GBI said. 

“There have been discussions and we are closer to a decision,” a GBI spokeswoman said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

The guards, Sgt. Curtis Billue, 58, and Sgt. Christopher Monica, 42, were both shot and killed along Ga. 16 in Putnam County when two prisoners they were transporting escaped, according to police. 

If it were up to the GBI director and the Putnam sheriff, there would be no decision to make. It would go to the man credited with holding the two fugitives until officers could arrive to arrest them outside of Murfreesboro. But that man, Patrick Hale, doesn’t believe he’s a hero at all. 

Hale believes they surrendered because his car resembles a police-type cruiser. 

“I prayed like I had never prayed before,” said the 35-year-old father.

Hale’s neighbor, Jeremy Littrell, also walked over and had a gun. But he wasn’t a hero either, he said, and he never pulled out his gun.  

Within minutes, at least 40 officers had surrounded the accused killers.  

“There were helicopters circling overhead, police everywhere,” Littrell said. “They knew the gig was up.”

Friday afternoon, the GBI released a statement on the money. 

“The reward will be dispersed at the appropriate time,” Nelly Miles, GBI spokeswoman, said in an email. “As there were several aspects involved in their apprehension, law enforcement will continue to review them and determine how it will be dispersed.”

It was not known when a decision on the reward money would be made.

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