Georgia manhunt: Escaped inmates accused of killing guards arrested in Tennessee

Two escaped Georgia inmates sought in the killing of two corrections officers were apprehended Thursday following a car chase in Tennessee.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles said that Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, were captured in Christiana, Tenn., a rural community approximately 50 miles southeast of Nashville.

Police in Shelbyville, Tenn. responded to a call about a home invasion, where Rowe and Dubose held an elderly couple captive and then fled in the couple’s vehicle, Miles said. Officers responded and chased the pair. The inmates got into a wreck, left the vehicle and then led police on a foot chase before both men were taken into custody in Christiana, she said.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said Rowe and Dubose surrendered after fleeing into some woods. He said that shots were fired, but did not say by whom. The inmates were unharmed and there were no reports of injuries to law enforcement personnel.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine said the bureau’s agents will take part in processing the scene. The Tennessee Department of Transportation said traffic was being diverted on Interstate 24 east in Rutherford County until about 11 p.m.

Authorities say Rowe and Dubose overpowered and killed Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue early Tuesday on a bus that should have been secured as it carried 33 inmates between prisons southeast of Atlanta.

Authorities had offered a $130,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the fugitives, whom Sills had called “dangerous beyond description.”

The search had involved law enforcement officers all over Georgia, as well as the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

After killing the officers, the pair then carjacked a driver who pulled up behind the bus, and fled in his Honda Civic along state Highway 16 in Putnam County, southeast of Atlanta.

The inmates then drove about 25 miles north to Madison, where they ransacked a home, stealing food and clothes and leaving their prison uniforms behind around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Late Tuesday night, about 12 hours after the home burglary, the pair stole a Ford pickup truck from a rock quarry about 9 miles from the burglarized home. That’s when the trail went cold.

Rowe, 43, has been serving life without parole since 2002, and Dubose, 24, began a 20-year sentence in 2015. Both were convicted of armed robbery and other violent crimes, and they’ve been cellmates more than once in Georgia’s prisons.

Monica, 42, and Billue, 58, were both transfer sergeants at Baldwin State Prison. Monica had been with the Georgia Department of Corrections since October 2009 and Billue since July 2007.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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