• Inmates accused of killing corrections officers back behind bars in Georgia

    By: Mark Winne , Tyisha Fernandes

    Updated:

    PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga. - A judge has denied bond for two men accused of shooting two corrections officers and the leading police on a multi-state manhunt for two days.

    Inmates Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose arrived in a caravan under the cover of darkness at the Putnam County Courthouse early Wednesday morning after waiving extradition from Tennessee.

    Rowe and Dubose are accused of killing Sgt. Chris Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue on a prison transport bus, using the officers’ own guns to kill them.

    Sgt. Curtis Billue and Sgt. Christopher Monica.
    Sgt. Curtis Billue and Sgt. Christopher Monica.

    Channel 2 investigative Mark Winne was there as Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills and several of his deputies returned back to Georgia from their trip to Tennessee to bring back the inmates for their first court appearance in Georgia Wednesday morning.

    “I told them they had to behave. And if they were nice, I’d be nice. But if they weren’t nice, I wasn’t going to be nice,” Sills said he told the men.

    Sills told Winne he picked up Rowe and Dubose around 1:49 a.m. in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

    “Mr. Dubose gave me his word he would behave, and Mr. Rowe said we wouldn’t have any problem with him either,” Sills told Winne.

    The men were transferred in convoy of five SUVs. Sills said Dubose was in one SUV and Rowe in another.

    The two SUVs carrying the inmates pulled into the Putnam County Jail sallyport around 5:38 a.m. Deputies carrying long guns were waiting for the men outside.

    Sills indicated Rowe and Dubose had been handcuffed in state-of-the art German handcuffs that were supposedly unpickable

    The men were chained hand to waist to foot. Each had two deputies in the vehicles with them and the convoy never stopped.


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    “Why was it personally important to you to be on this transport?” Winne asked Sills.

    “Because I’m the sheriff, Mark, I'm responsible,” Sills told Winne.

    Sills said the Sheriff's Office staff fingerprinted, took mugshots and processed the two prisoners into the jail.

    The next phase of his plan was to put both in one car and convoy the men to the sallyport at the Putnam County Courthouse and to have them locked in holding cells there under heavy guard before regular business hours.

    As the two suspects headed out of the courtroom after their hearing Winne tried asking them a question about how they were going to plead.

    Not guilty Dubose seemed to say.

    “Your plan after the hearing?” Winne asked Sills.  

    “I’ve worked out with the commissioner of the Department of Corrections and we will be transporting them instantly to the state prison in Jackson,” Sills told Winne.

    As bells rang outside the Putnam County Courthouse, nothing but shackles could be heard inside the courtroom for as Rowe and Dubose entered for their first appearance.

    “We're going to start with Mr. Ricky Allen Dubose,” the judge said, getting the hearing underway.

    Billue's family sat silent in the courtroom, but after the hearing his sister Carol told Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes the inmates killed a good man.

    “He was just a gentle giant, 6’ 4”, a kind loving person. He pitched in and did what he could to help out with any situation that would arise,” Carol Billue said.

    She said her brother helped caring for their 94-year-old father. His sisters said he was front and center whenever his dad needed anything.

    “He was a caregiver Friday through Sunday. I would wake up some mornings when I was there, he would've already completed half of the chores that needed doing that day,” Billue told Fernandes.  

    Fernandes learned Billue came from a big family, leaving behind two sons, his father, five sisters and two brothers.

    Monica's family was not in the courtroom Wednesday, but Fernandes spoke to his friends last week. They said he also leaves behind a big family, and they are grieving hard as well.

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