EATONTON, Ga. — Convicted double murderer Ricky Allen “Juvie” Dubose now has a new accolade.
At 29, he is considered the youngest inmate on death row in Georgia.
After a jury of six men and six women in Glynn County found him guilty of the June 13, 2017 shooting death of Sgt. Curtis Billue and Sgt. Christopher Monica, jurors heard moving testimony from family members and other state witnesses during rebuttal testimony. The jurors later recommended the death penalty.
The trial judge in the case, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Alison T. Burleson, agreed with jurors and imposed Dubose’s death sentence last Thursday afternoon before Putnam County Superior Court.
During the rebuttal phase of the penalty phase, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale III explained to the jurors exactly why Dubose deserved no less punishment than death.
Barksdale was aided in the pursuit of Dubose by Chief Assistant District Attorney Allison Mauldin and Assistant District Attorney Blyne May, as well as Putnam County Sheriff Howard R. Sills.
Two of Dubose’s four defense attorneys, Gerald “Jerry” Word and Amber Pittman, told jurors why they believed their client’s life should be spared.
Pittman and Word, meanwhile, were assisted by defense attorneys Nathanael Studelska and Shayla Galloway.
“On June 13, 2017, I had just turned 16 a few weeks earlier,” Barksdale said, recalling some of the comments made by Christopher Monica’s youngest daughter, Zoey. “And the previous Saturday, my parents had thrown me a Sweet 16 birthday party. That morning, I woke up to my sister crying and finally opened our back door to the manager’s secretary, to an officer and the chaplain. They announced that my father had been killed in the line of duty.
Barksdale then asked jurors not to forget who the victims were in the case.
“Some say the death penalty doesn’t value human life, but that’s just not true,” said Barksdale, who just completed his second death penalty case since being elected district attorney. . ” It’s the contrary. Some crimes are so serious that a death sentence is the only just outcome to ensure that life is protected.
Dubose’s double-murder death penalty trial began shortly after Memorial Day — a day set aside to recognize those who did their duty to protect Americans and did so by sacrificing their lives, it said. -he declares.
Barksdale told jurors they had also participated in some form of homework over the past few weeks. He called it jury duty.
And the punishment they would think about later was whether Dubose should live or die.
Barksdale described Dubose as a bad man.
“Don’t be gullible; don’t be fooled and don’t be charmed,” he told jurors.
He then took the jury members and five alternates back to a time when they met at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick to begin jury selection.
Barksdale told jurors they had done their duty in phase one by convicting Dubose of the crimes of murder. He said the officers’ deaths were not by accident and that Dubose was not convicted of the murders due to intellectual disability or mental illness.
Instead, jurors found Dubose guilty of killing Sgt. Bille and Sgt. Monica.
“I told you then that the law required me to prove aggravating circumstances,” Barksdale said. “Ladies and gentlemen, you will have the verdict form with you and you will see that the State of Georgia has not proven an aggravating factor, but eight – eight. How many aggravating factors do you need?
He told jurors they had indicated during the jury process that they could vote for death.
“You have eight aggravating circumstances,” Barksdale said.
Now is the time to make a decision – a decision they, as jurors, should make.
He then asked what we know at this time.
“We know that the man sitting at this table shot Christopher Monica multiple times,” Barksdale said. “He shot him in the head. We know he shot Curtis Billue multiple times. And he shot him in the head. He escaped from that prison bus and within a minute a gun was pointed at Phillip Beasley where he stole his car.
He and his co-defendant, Donnie Russell Rowe, who was convicted of the same crimes last year and later sentenced to two life terms in prison without the possibility of parole, then broke into a woman’s home in Madison.
“You heard her,” Barksdale said of this particular crime victim. “She couldn’t sleep in her house for months.”
Dubose and Rowe then stole a van from a rock quarry in Morgan County.
The prison escapees then drove the truck to the Chestnut Ridge Church in central Tennessee. The couple then broke into the church after hiding the truck in the woods and covering it with baptism curtains from inside the church.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve heard all the evidence, there’s nothing off limits,” Barksdale said. “There is absolutely nothing off limits for this man.”
The escapees then left the church and drove to a farm where they stole a third vehicle – a car.
The couple then carried out a home invasion at Bob and Becky Hickerson’s residence – their third burglary, Barksdale said.
Dubose and Rowe then stole their fourth vehicle since escaping the Putnam County Jail Bus.
The escapees stole a vehicle from the Hickerson and eventually found themselves in a high-speed chase with deputies from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
“They were going 120 mph,” Barksdale said. “And you heard from Niki Morris that she couldn’t drive on the freeway for months.”
Barksdale said a three-day manhunt ended the same way it started early on with Dubose shooting law enforcement officers.
“So I ask you (jurors), you said you could vote for the death penalty,” Barksdale recalled. “How many vehicles are to be stolen?” You said you could vote for the death penalty. How many houses need to be robbed? You said you could vote for death, how many people have to have a gun to their face? How many times does someone manage to shoot someone else? How many times does someone shoot at law enforcement? »
Barksdale said what is known is that Dubose shot 32 times.
He then brandished the two state-issued pistols that had been issued to Sgt. Bille and Sgt. Monica and told jurors that Dubose pulled the trigger on those guns 32 times on human beings.
“That’s what you know,” he told jurors. “Don’t be fooled.”
He then pointed to the lead that Dubose injected into the heads of the two victims.
“That’s what killed them,” Barksdale said.
Before sitting down, he told jurors he had waited five years and three days to speak to them.
The district attorney said the day before his closing arguments as jurors that his 5-year-old son walked into his office at home, as he was considering what to say to them.
“He gave me a hug and he walked out,” Barksdale said, noting that he then leaned back in his chair and his mind went back to Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica. “There was an empty chair at Zoey’s dance recital. There was an empty chair at her high school graduation. There will be an empty chair at her graduation. She will walk through this world without her father, just as she will walk down the aisle on her wedding day – all alone. This chair is empty because this man (Ricky Allen Dubose) sitting at this table took his father from him and shot him in the head. This chair is empty because of this man. Never forget who the victims are in this case.
Jerry Word followed with closing arguments on behalf of the defense team.
He told jurors they turned their lives upside down to serve.
“And I think everyone here appreciates what you’ve done,” Word said. “I want to remind you that even though you are now in those 46 days, the hardest part is still to come, because you have to make a very weighed decision.”
Word told the jurors this would be the last time he would speak to them on Dubose’s behalf.
“And no matter how many times I do it, it’s always the hardest day, because there are no words,” Word said.
He recalled that the previous night he had tried to find words to express what the Billue and Monica families had been through over the past five years.
“I searched and found nothing that could adequately express grief, pain, regret,” Word said. “But the only way the defense team knew how to handle this was basically to come in on day one, ladies and gentlemen, and say that Ricky Dubose shot two prison guards as he escaped from a transport bus and that he is a member of the Ghost. Face Gang.
Word said he and other members of the defense team did not stand up and question witnesses with few exceptions because they wanted to do nothing to disrespect the memory of Sgt. Monica and Sergeant. bill.
“We didn’t mean to do anything to disrespect you,” Word told the jurors. “We didn’t want to waste your time because we knew Ricky Dubose had shot and killed two prison guards as he escaped from a prison bus.”
Word said he and the other members of the defense team had carried Ricky Dubose’s life in their hands and on their shoulders for five years.
“But in a few minutes, each of you will have to take this life into your own hands,” Word said. “And why do I say each of you, because as we have said from day one of jury selection, each of you must make an individual and moral life or death decision.”
Word told them that their decision would not be easy.
Pittman, the lead defense attorney, also spoke to the jurors one last time.
She told jurors that Dubose had a father, but he had no father.
“What he had was Rocky and Crystal,” said Pittman – his brother and sister. “And Frankie too. He had brothers and a sister who loved him and who loved each other.
She said that amid everything they went through growing up, something beautiful came out of it.
“It was the love between these brothers and their sister,” Pittman said. “Ricky relied on Rocky. Rocky was his big brother.
Rocky was the person Ricky turned to when he didn’t know what to do, she said.
Pittman told jurors that what happened on the bus during the escape was a crime of opportunity.
“It wasn’t something that was planned or plotted,” Pittman said. “It was a crime of opportunity.”
She noted that Dubose accepted responsibility for what he did from the start.
“He told them what he had done,” Pittman said. “He didn’t lie about it.”
Pittman asked for mercy from the jurors.
She asked jurors for mercy for family members and former teachers in Dubose’s life.
Pittman asked for the second worst sentence allowed under Georgia law – life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In the end, the jurors opted to recommend death instead.