by Keith Sanders
Just ten days after being sentenced to death for the 2017 murders of two state prison guards, a prisoner was found unresponsive in his cell at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison on June 26, 2022. Guards performed life-saving measures, but Ricky Allen “Juvie” Dubose, 29, was pronounced dead by a coroner. Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said Dubose hanged himself in his cell. He was the youngest prisoner on the state’s death row.
The apparent suicide came after a lengthy five-year trial that ended when a jury deliberated just 90 minutes to convict him of felony and malice murder on June 13, 2022. Donnie Rowe, 48, his co-defendant in the fatal shooting of Sgt. Christopher Monica, 42, and Sgt. Curtis Billue, 58, was convicted on the same charges in September 2021. However, because Dubose was the trigger man, jurors were unable to concur on the death penalty for Rowe. He was sentenced by a state judge to life without parole.
The two cellmates were being transported from Baldwin State Prison on June 13, 2017, when they overpowered and executed the two guards, shooting them in the head before escaping the transport bus. At the time, Dubose was serving a 20-year sentence for a 2015 conviction for armed robbery and assault. Rowe was serving a life sentence with no parole for a 2001 conviction for armed robbery, possession of a firearm during a crime and aggravated assault.
Together, the escapees stole vehicles and robbed homeowners as they eluded authorities for over three days. After an intense manhunt throughout the Southeast, they were captured in Tennessee when a homeowner caught them outside his home and held them at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived. [See: PLN, Mar. 2018, p.50.]
During Dubose’s sentencing, his attorneys pointed out that he born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, leaving him intellectually disabled and mentally ill. The attorneys also cited a lack of parental care that caused Dubose to struggle to walk and talk as a child, arguing that those mitigating factors made him ineligible for a death sentence.
Nevertheless, the jury disagreed.
Though Sheriff Sills admitted he was surprised by the young prisoner’s suicide, he said that “[i]t’s not good; it’s not bad.”
“At least the State of Georgia won’t have to keep him up for the next 20 years, and all the costs associated with the appeals and other things associated with the case,” the Sheriff offered.
Sources: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Milledgeville Union-Recorder, WMAZ, WMGT, US News
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