PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga. - State officials say the two guards who were killed during a prisoner escape in Putnam County in June, made several mistakes that day.
Channel 2’s Tom Jones was at a news conference Friday where the Department of Corrections released a report detailing the escape of that fateful day.
Authorities said the unsecured gate that separates the officers from the inmates, was the single greatest point of failure, which was one of several mistakes made, according to the report.
Commissioner Gregory Dozier said there were at least five breaches of security when correctional officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica began transporting several inmates, including Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose.
Dozier said the inmates’ handcuffs weren't double locked, they were left unattended, they weren't searched properly and both officers didn't have their duty weapons on them.
The brother of Curtis Billue, Frank Billue said his family is disappointed the report blames the officers and told Jones that the report is just one part of the story.
It “appear(s) to lay all the responsibility at the feet of the officers,” Frank said.
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“They were able to use the alleged toothbrush to supposedly remove the unlocked padlock and enter the chamber of where the officers reside,” Dozier said. “During that time, they went through the officers’ personal belongings, eating some of their food and also drinking their drinks.”
Dozier added that the officers left their weapons in a storage box on the bus and didn’t have on protective vest, which are both violations.
“Within minutes of boarding that bus, they were able to get out of their cuffs,” Dozier told Jones. “Not just them, but several others.”
Dozier outlined many changes made in the department of corrections after the murders, including having a vehicle trail all transportation buses.
“We’ll be implementing a checklist before the bus leaves the ground,” Dozier said.
Frank said his family appreciates law enforcement's work, but said the information in the report needs to be verified.
“There’s another side to the feather,” Frank said.
Frank told Jones that his family will review what was said and then explore their options.
Dozier said he wanted to be transparent and open about what happened, and wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
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