LINKS & TWEETS: The Donnie Rowe death penalty trial


Donnie Rowe, one of the two men accused of killing a pair of prison guards on a prison bus in the middle of nowhere in 2017, was found guilty on all charges today, including two counts each of felony murder and malice murder. 

The south Georgia jury, bussed into Eatonton for the trial, needed a mere four hours to come back with the guilty-on-all-counts verdict. The trial was a "death penalty trial," and Rowe's fate now lies in the hands of Judge Brenda Trammell.

New District Attorney Wright Barksdale, a Jones County man who grew up in Washington County, is now 3-for-3 when it comes to prosecuting murder cases.

Rowe and Ricky Dubose both were prisoners at Baldwin State Prison in south Milledgeville and were on a bus full of prisoners being transferred. Following the slayings, Rowe and Dubose stole several cars and were officially on the run, putting Middle Georgia and North Georgia on alert, with many making sure that their doors were locked. A homeowner in rural East Tennessee ultimately spotted the men snooping around his yard and held Rowe and Dubose at gunpoint until local cops and United States marshals converged. 

The names of the two slain security guards were Christopher Monica, 42,  and Curtis Billue, 58. Monica, according to his obituary, grew up around Chicago but had lived in Milledgeville for around the last 20 years. Billue, meanwhile, was a Wilkinson County man, according to his obituary. Each slain prison guard was a father of two.

Billue and Monica, respectively.

Here are some regional media accounts of today's guilty verdict:




Meanwhile, jurors earlier in the week viewed the full video of Rowe and his co-conspirator, Dubsoe, bum rushing the two guards, grabbing one of the guards' service weapons, and killing both, while the other inmates huddled in the back of the bus, completely freaked out and frightened. Many of the other prisoners on the bus remained visibly shaken and traumatized in the days that following, fearing at the time that they were about to be next.


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