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"Extremely grateful": victims' families weigh in on Ricky Dubose's death sentence

The Putnam County clerk announced, "We the jury, find the the sentence of the defendant as follows: death signed the 16th day of June.”

EATONTON, Ga. — A Putnam County jury handed down four death sentences for Ricky Dubose one each on all four counts.

Dubose is one of two prison inmates who killed corrections officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica aboard a transport bus in Putnam County five years ago.

The killings set off a manhunt across several states. Dubose and fellow inmate Donnie Rowe were later caught in Tennessee.

Prosecutors and the defense team presented closing arguments Thursday before the jury spent time deliberating. 

"Because you have the duty to seek justice, and anything less than death isn't just," District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale said. 

Barksdale began opening statements asking the jury to remember who the victims are in this trial. He recounted all of Dubose's crimes and says it's the jury's duty to serve justice to an "evil man" who would commit them again.  

He said giving Dubose death would be giving life to others.

"Today, ladies and gentlemen, is your D-Day,” he explained. “My question to you is will you fight? Will you fight for Christopher Monica? Will you go in that room and fight for Curtis Billue."

Defense attorney Gerald Word said that Dubose is a product of abuse and neglect that made him what he is today. He says life in prison is already a death sentence. 

"We've carried the life of Ricky Dubose in our hands and on our shoulders for the last five years. But in a few minutes, each of you are going to have to take that life into your own hands,” he said. 

The Putnam County clerk announced, "We the jury, find the sentence of the defendant as follows: death signed the 16th day of June.”

The jury deliberated for three hours before coming back and sentencing Dubose to death. Family members of both correctional officers Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue say they're relieved. 

"I’m extremely grateful for everybody involved in making this happen and getting justice for my dad,” Zoey Monica said. “I'm just excited about getting to finally feel some sort of peace with everything.”

Denise Billue said she owed it all to the DA’s office. 

"The closure that the judicial system has brought to us has given us great hope because I know the next step is going to be healing. We know that we will never move on without Curt, but we will move forward,” Billue says. 

As required by Georgia law, a judge is required to set a date for the death penalty to be carried out between 20 and 60 days from when a defendant is sentenced. 

However, Dubose’s sentence will not be carried out during that time frame because death penalty sentences have an automatic appeal process.

PREVIOUS CASE COVERAGE

Ricky Dubose sentenced to death for killing two Georgia corrections officers

Jury to decide on Ricky Dubose's sentencing in Georgia correctional officers' deaths

Defense, prosecution argue Ricky Dubose's mental competency in Putnam County murder trial

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