DA to seek death penalty against Georgia fugitives

A  Georgia prosecutor said Wednesday he will seek the death penalty against a pair of inmates accused of killing two correctional officers while escaping from a prison transport bus.

District Attorney Stephen Bradley, of the eight-county Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, made the announcement at a Putnam County court appearance for Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe.

The two were back in Georgia after being apprehended Thursday night in Tennessee following a massive three-day manhunt.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills and a plethora of law enforcement officers returned the two to Georgia overnight. They had been held in a Rutherford County, Tenn. jail since they surrendered to a 35-year-old Mufreesboro father. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Georgia fugitives make court appearance

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Dubose and Rowe are being charged with two counts of murder and one count each of escape and hijacking a motor vehicle.

They were denied bond on Wednesday.

In response to a reporter’s shouted question, Rowe said Wednesday he would plead not guilty. He and Dubose were then hustled out of the courtroom. They were wearing waist chains and leg irons. 

Their court appearance Wednesday morning came the day after the funeral for the second of two correctional officers shot dead just before dawn June 13. 

Sgt. Christopher Monica’s funeral was Tuesday afternoon in Milledgeville. The service for Sgt. Curtis Billue was on Saturday in McIntyre, his hometown. 

Sisters of slain Georgia correctional officer Curtis Billue watch the court proceedings on Wednesday, June 21. BOB ANDRES/AJC

Both were veteran officers working at Baldwin State Prison near Milledgeville when they were killed as they were transporting 33 inmates from one prison to another. The other 31 prisoners on the bus at the time of the shooting stayed in place. 

Rowe and Dubose managed to escape from their waist chains and leg irons and get through the metal door separating the inmates from he guards. Police said they got the officers’ 9 mm Glocks, fired multiple times, carjacked a Honda that had stopped behind the bus on Georgia 16 between Sparta and Eatonton and disappeared, setting off a huge manhunt. 

A $130,000 award was offered for their capture.

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