EATONTON, Ga. — On the five-year anniversary of correctional officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica's murders, a jury found inmate Ricky Dubose guilty on all counts. The decision came down Monday night.
In Eatonton, prosecutors and defense lawyers are trying to convince the jury whether Dubose should get the death penalty or life in prison.
Currently, both prosecutors and the defense have been calling witnesses. The state must prove Dubose's crimes are punishable by death.
"We will be asking you to sentence Mr. Dubose to death.”
Prosecutor Allison Mauldin began the opening statements in the penalty phase.
"Before you can consider any sort of punishment, the state has to prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant violated the statutory aggravated circumstances,” she explains.
Mauldin says she'll call witnesses who will discuss Dubose's long history of crime.
"The death sentence is never, never required,” says Shayla Galloway.
Defense attorney Galloway admitted Dubose is guilty of two murders.
"And he will be punished for what he did, but he can be punished and he can also live,” she defends.
Galloway says life in prison will be punishment enough and his family and friends will testify that Dubose's life does still have value.
The state asked the families' of murdered correctional officers Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue to speak on the stand first.
"People's instinct to say he is in a better place. That is not true for our family or the family of Curtis Billue,” says Ashley Monica, Monica’s daughter. “These men were healthy. They went to work an honest day job and should've come home, and now they never will due to the actions that took place on the transport bus on an otherwise normal Tuesday morning,” she cries.
Sgt. Monica’s second daughter, Zoey Monica, also spoke.
"This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life -- sit here and tell you the truth of who my dad really was, all while being in the same room as the individual who is the reason we are all here,” she explains.
Sgt. Billue’s sister, Carol Billue, went next.
"My daddy left this world without closure for the murder of his son. We have a void in our hearts that we have to deal with everyday because Curtis was murdered.”
The state and defense are still presenting witnesses and evidence this evening. Then, the jury will discuss Dubose's sentence. That decision may come Wednesday.