Inmates accused of killing officers appear in court

by: Nicole Carr, WSBTV.com Updated:

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SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The two inmates who were on the run for three days after authorities say they killed two corrections officers, have been captured.

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee confirmed Ricky Dubose and Donnie Rowe were caught Thursday evening in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

The escapees were wanted for the prison bus murders of two corrections officers: Sgt. Chris Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue.

Dubose and Rowe appeared in court in Rutherford County Friday. They both waived extradition back to Putman County, Georgia where the officers were killed. 

Rutherford County Sheriff Michael Fitzhugh said at first he did not know who the men were, but was concerned about his deputies. 

"They shot at my deputies and I'm concerned about that. Yes, I'd like to see attempted murder charges brought against them, realizing that we'll have our charge and line up and they'll be behind the Georgia charges because there's no question the Georgia charges are more severe," he said.

Investigators say Rowe and Dubose have committed so many crimes in so many places that it may be days or weeks before there is a full list of charges.

They are being held in the Rutherford County jail until officials from Georgia come pick them up. 

Dubose's cousin spoke out Thursday before his capture, pleading he turn himself in. She said her cousin is not a monster.

"The Ricky I know is nothing like what we are seeing on TV, all the tattoos, the heinous things going on.  That's not the Ricky I know," Brenda Tarver said.

Tarver said she last talked to Dubose when he visited her church in 2013.

She said he had just gotten out of jail, and told her he was "trying to do right."

Wednesday, Georgia officials released a photo for a Ford F-250 truck that Dubose and Rowe were said to have stolen.

Channel 2 Action News learned Thursday evening the men ditched that truck Moore County, Tennessee Thursday. They said from there, they an stole another car and headed to Bedford County, where investigators said they broke into an elderly couple’s home.

“I'll say they weren't injured but I can assure you they were traumatized by these hoodlums coming into their home. I'm sorry as I can be,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said.

Officials from Tennessee say Dubose and Rowe held the couple hostage for about three hours before stealing their car. Tennessee law enforcement said the couple were able to get break free and call investigators.

Deputies said they spotted the car in Shelbyville. The men got into a car chase when deputies attempted to pull them over along Interstate 24 westbound.

“All of a sudden, I look up from my phone and I see a state trooper. He's got an assault rifle, he's got his finger on the trigger and he's like, 'as soon as I tell you turn around and go the opposite way on the highway,'” Witness Andy Held told Channel 2’s Nicole Carr.

Deputies said the inmates fired at them from the car. Investigators said the men wrecked the vehicle near mile marker 91 after the chase reached speeds of 100 mph.

Dubose and Rowe then ran from the car into a wooded area along the interstate. The approached a nearby home and the homeowner called police and his neighbors.

Investigators said the men surrendered peacefully when they were taken into custody. No one was injured in the incident.

This all started Tuesday morning when investigators said Dubose and Rowe jumped the correctional officers,
shot them and then broke out of the bus in Putnam County.

The officers died from their injuries. Investigators said the inmates then carjacked a Honda, dumped it later and broke into a home to grab food, street clothes and money.

The escapees then stole the white Ford F-250 pickup, leading to Thursday’s event.

The head of Georgia’s Department of Correction, Greg Dozier, declined to talk about how the prisoners where capable of overtaking the armed guards on Thursday.

He said the focus now was tracking them down and offering compassion to the families of the corrections officers, killed in the line of duty.

“We will miss them deeply, and we can't replace them. It's a shame two individuals would be so cowardly to do this," Dozier said.

Gov. Nathan Deal released a statement about the arrest:

“Rest assured, justice will be served. My sincere thanks to our local, state and federal law enforcement officers who assisted in the manhunt. Because of their tireless efforts, the public is safe. The pain endured by the families and loved ones of Sergeant Christopher Monica and Sergeant Curtis Billue endures, however. We will do everything in our power to support their loved ones, and we will not forget their sacrifice and service.” 

Sgt. Christopher Monica was 42 years old. He was husband and father of two daughters. Monica was an 8-year veteran of the Department of Corrections.

Sgt. Curtis Billue was 58 years old and leaves behind two sons. Billue was a 10-year veteran of the Department of Corrections. He also served in the U.S. Army for 11 years.