Sister of Sgt. Curtis Billue finds strength in outpouring of international support
MCINTYRE, Ga. -- Since her brother Sgt. Curtis Billue's death by two escaped inmates last summer, Denise Billue has received thousands of letters and gifts in support of her family.
Correctional Officer Curtis Billue was one of two officials shot and killed by Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose, who overpowered the two guards while on a Georgia State Prison bus traveling on Highway 16 between Eatonton and Sparta.
Rowe and Dubose were eventually captured in Tennessee after being held at gunpoint by a homeowner and neighbor.
Now, Denise Billue is trying to focus on moving forward and getting justice served for the killing of her beloved brother.
In the tiny home that she had built for Curtis, Denise displays thousands of letters and gifts that she's been receiving in honor of him for months - some of them coming from places as far away as Canada and Mexico.
In many of the letters she's gotten, supporters talk about how they want to see justice served for her brother's murder.
"We've received thousands of cards that reflect on love and encouragement and faith, but there is also a very clear message in many of the cards. The people want justice," she said.
Denise says these gestures go beyond just showing support and that she is now not only fighting for Curtis but for the thousands of other people who also want justice for him.
Last week, Ricky Dubose pleaded not guilty, a move that Denise says doesn't surprise her since she believes he's only continuing the same cruel and calculated behavior he displayed when he allegedly shot Curtis. Donnie Russell Rowe will appear in court on Feb. 2.
One supporter sent Denise a blue ribbon, which she wears to give herself strength every time she walks into court and faces the events of that day all over again.
"Just when you start to feel a little low or a little sad, you know that you're fighting for justice not just for your brother. You're fighting for justice for him, but you're also fighting for justice for all those other people out there," she said.
She says that in order for her family to heal, they need Dubose to face a guilty verdict and confront justice for what he's done.