Inmate sentenced to die for killing guards during escape from prison bus

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A Georgia prisoner convicted of killing two guards during an escape from a prison transport bus five years ago has been sentenced to die.

A jury on Thursday agreed unanimously on a death sentence for Ricky Dubose for shooting to death Sgt Christopher Monica and Sgt Curtis Billue in June 2017, news outlets reported.

The jury had found him guilty of charges including murder on Monday.

A second prisoner charged after the killings, Donnie Rowe, was convicted of murder in September.

A judge sentenced him to serve life in prison without parole after jurors could not agree whether he should be sentenced to death.

Dubose and Rowe escaped together from the bus in Putnam County, south-east of Atlanta, on June 13 2017, and were arrested in Tennessee days later.

Prison Guards Killed
Ricky Dubose, left, and Donnie Russell Rowe escaped together from the bus in Putnam County, south-east of Atlanta, and were arrested in Tennessee days later (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)

Prosecutors say Dubose grabbed one of the officers’ weapons and shot Sgt Monica, the guard, and then Sgt Billue, the driver, in the head.

Security cameras on the bus recorded the violent escape and roughly 30 other prisoners witnessed the killings.

A lawyer for Dubose had acknowledged in her opening statement that he was guilty, but she said the jury should find him guilty and intellectually disabled or guilty but mentally ill.

That would have made him ineligible for the death penalty.

Prosecutors rejected the defence arguments, saying Dubose is an intelligent and calculated killer.

Dubose, 29, was already serving a 20-year sentence for a 2015 armed robbery and assault in Elbert County when he escaped.

He had been in prison earlier as well.

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