Escaped prison inmates Ricky Dubose (L) and Donnie Russell Rowe were re-captured in Tennessee on Thursday evening, authorities said. In Putnam County, Ga, a judge denied bail. Image courtesy Georgia Bureau of Investigation
June 21 (UPI) -- A prosecutor in Georgia said Wednesday he will seek the death penalty for two inmates accused of killing two corrections officers while escaping from a prison bus.
The inmates, Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, made their first court appearance Wednesday morning in Putnam County after returning from Tennessee. They were captured Thursday. They inmates waived their extradition to Putnam County, which is 78 miles east of Atlanta.
"I've been asked dozens of times if we're seeking the death penalty in this case, and I told everyone I'm going to be thorough, we're going to be careful in this case," Putnam County District Attorney Steogen Bradley said to the court. "Based on everything we know at this point, this is clearly a death penalty case."
Judge Brenda Trammell ordered the convicts held without bond and appointed a public defender for their defense.
A Putnam County grand jury will convene on Sept. 18.
Rowe was serving a sentence of up to life in prison for armed robbery and aggravated assault in a 2001 case. And Dubose was serving up to 20 years for armed robbery, aggravated assault and theft after a conviction in 2014. He also was convicted of theft and identity fraud in 2010.
On June 13, Rowe and Dubose were on a state corrections bus when they got out of what should have been a locked, gated section of the bus, police said.
They entered the driver's compartment and disarmed officers Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, while the bus was on State Route 16 between Eatonton and Sparta, police said.
At least one of the escapees shot and killed the officers, authorities said.
While on the run for 60 hours, they allegedly stole five vehicles, robbed two homes, tied up and terrorized an elderly couple and led police on a chase with speeds of 100 mph, authorities said.
Dubose and Rowe were captured Thursday in central Tennessee after a homeowner saw the inmates trying to steal his vehicle and called his neighbor. The two men held them at gunpoint, authorities said.
They were described as "dangerous beyond description" by law enforcement officials,
Curtis Billue's sisters attended the hearing, and they say they forgave the inmates, according to WXIA.
"When I first laid eyes on them, all I could do was just, in my mind, just think how could two human beings kill two innocent men who were only doing their jobs?" Denise Billue said. "All I can do is say that I immediately, when this took place, I immediately forgave them. But forgiveness does not excuse their behavior and all I can say is that, at this point, we just want justice served."