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Man found dead in Georgia prison days after death sentence in guard killings

Ricky Dubose, who was sentenced June 16 in the 2017 shooting deaths of Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue, died by suicide, officials said.
Ricky Dubose enters the Putnam County courthouse  in Eatonton, Ga., on June 21, 2017.
Ricky Dubose enters the Putnam County courthouse in Eatonton, Ga., on June 21, 2017.Bob Andres / Atlanta Journal-Constution via AP, Pool
/ Source: Associated Press

JACKSON, Ga. — A Georgia man who was recently sentenced to death in the killings of two corrections officers during an escape attempt five years ago has died in prison of an apparent suicide, corrections officials said.

Prison guards found Ricky Dubose unresponsive in his cell at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson around 4:45 p.m. Sunday, according to a Department of Corrections news release. The guards called for medical help and began rendering aid. The coroner at the prison declared Dubose dead at 5:56 p.m.

Dubose, 29, was sentenced to death June 16 after he was convicted of murder in the June 2017 shooting deaths of Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue.

Dubose and Donnie Rowe were being transported between prisons along with other inmates when they killed the two guards and escaped from the bus in Putnam County, southeast of Atlanta, on June 13, 2017. They were arrested days later in Tennessee.

Dubose was accused of firing the gun that killed the officers after he and Rowe slipped out of handcuffs and burst through an unlocked gate at the front of the bus. Prosecutors say Dubose grabbed one of the officers’ weapons and shot Monica, the guard, and then Billue, the driver, both in the head. Security cameras on the bus recorded the violent escape and roughly 30 other prisoners witnessed the killings.

Rowe was convicted of murder in September. A judge sentenced him to serve life in prison without parole after jurors couldn’t agree whether he should be sentenced to death.

The Department of Corrections is working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate Dubose’s death, which is standard procedure.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.