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Jurors listen to woman held hostage by Rowe after prison bus killings

Rebecca Hickerson was eating lunch with her husband at their Tennessee home when the doorbell rang -- then an armed man started walking up the driveway.

EATONTON, Ga. — Lawyers in Eatonton continued debating Saturday whether Donnie Rowe should receive the death penalty.

It was the second day of the sentencing phase of Rowe's trial; the sixth overall in the courtroom.

On Thursday, a Putnam County jury found him guilty on all counts of murdering corrections officers Curtis Billue and Christopher Monica in 2017.

The morning started with more witnesses for the prosecution. Each of them testified, sharing their stories, which all included Donnie Rowe.

Rebecca Hickerson of Shelbyville, Tennessee, was at home with her husband Bob two days after the bus killings in Putnam County.

They were eating a late lunch and watching television when their doorbell rang. Bob went to answer it, but he didn't see anyone. Rebecca then noticed a man walking up their driveway with a gun.

She says a few minutes later, both Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose were in her house with guns. Rowe and Dubose forced Rebecca to get Bob's clothes, shoes, and watches. They also wanted food, band-aids, and a car.

After they changed clothes, they tried to cover Dubose's tattoos with Rebecca's make-up. Then, they tied Rebecca and Bob up back-to-back and gagged them.

Rebecca says Dubose and Rowe told them to misidentify them to the police before they left.

"As Bob became more agitated, they became more aggressive. You all don't know Bob, but Bob doesn't back down. Bob was trying to protect me and the house," she said.

After the Hickersons broke free, Bob called the police and identified the intruders as the inmates who escaped in Georgia.

The Hickerson's home was about 30 miles away from the home of Rowe's mother.

Jurors so far have listened to 37 prosecution witnesses in the death penalty phase. Some of those witnesses include deputies who chased Rowe and Dubose down I-75 after they left the Hickerson's house.

Deputies hit speeds exceeding 120 mph, and say the two inmates fired shots at them on the highway. They passed hundreds of drivers headed home from work.

Jurors also watched dash-cam video of the chase, which ended when the two inmates crashed and ran into the woods. They were soon captured on another man's property.

The trial will continue Sunday morning.

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