Rutherford County homeowner Patrick Hale, who is credited with stopping two escaped Georgia convicts Thursday, clarified on Friday that the men surrendered on his driveway without him having to pull out a weapon, an unusual outcome that Hale attributes to divine intervention.
Earlier media reports said that Hale, who lives in Christiana, held the men at gunpoint until police arrived.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia had announced reward money for information that would lead to the arrests of Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose. However, Sheriff Howard Sills later said no reward money would be issued because he heard the men had surrendered to law enforcement. But after learning more about how Thursday’s events unfolded, Sills issued a press release Saturday saying officials are considering how the money might be awarded.
“We are presently looking into the facts,” Sills wrote. “I am confident from what I know at this time that there will be payments made.”
At a press conference Friday, Hale, 35, recounted what happened Thursday evening at his home. Hale said he received two calls from two friends around 6:40 p.m. warning him about fugitives in the area. He loaded every weapon in his house. Then he saw the two men cross a barbed wire fence 300 yards from his back door. He called 911.
“I prayed like I have never prayed before,” Hale said.
He and his daughter were the only ones at home at the time. He took her and got in his car and started backing up. The men approached, taking off their shirts and waving them.
“My vehicle looks very similar to a police cruiser,” said Hale, who believes that’s why the men started to surrender. “I had a weapon on me but I never had to draw the weapon like it has been released in the media.”
As he was backing up, Hale said he “realized that I had two ex-cons wanted for murder and that just shot at law enforcement and nothing to lose.”
But for whatever reason, the men proceeded to lie down on their stomachs on the driveway. They got up to get a drink from a faucet and then lay back down.
“If that doesn’t make you believe in Jesus Christ, I don’t know what will,” Hale said.
The men said nothing to Hale. Within three minutes, dozens of law enforcement officers arrived at the home and took Rowe and Dubose into custody.
On Tuesday morning, the men had overpowered and killed two guards while being transported on a state corrections bus in Putnam County, Georgia. Their escape launched one of the most intensive manhunts in the history of the state. Earlier on Thursday, the men broke into the home of a Shelbyville couple and held them at gunpoint for around three hours before stealing their vehicle and fleeing. The husband called police and a chase ensued. The men fired at deputies before crashing the vehicle and ending up at Hale’s house on foot.
Hale said Friday that he had not made an effort to seek reward money. In his press release Saturday, Sheriff Sills apologized for any confusion over the money, which totals at least $130,000.
“There has apparently be a great outcry from the public regarding the misinformation about the reward monies,” he wrote. “I, and I alone, take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for any confusion regarding this issue, but I have tried to be as open and informative as I could possibly be without jeopardizing our criminal case and have done so to the best of my abilities. For those who are not satisfied with my explanations related to this matter, I would only ask that you direct all of your displeasure to ME personally. You may continue to complain, spew venom, and denigrate me to your heart’s content for this is one old war horse who can take it.”