Fugitive Brothers Enter Pleas In Colorado
DENVER (AP) — Two of three fugitive siblings who were the focus of a nationwide manhunt last summer pleaded guilty Thursday to reduced charges in Colorado.
Ryan Dougherty, 21, and Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, along with their sister, Lee Grace Dougherty, were captured Aug. 10 after a chase in southern Colorado. The trio was accused of shooting at a police officer in Florida, as well as robbing a Georgia bank.
Dylan Dougherty pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree assault and faces up to 32 years in prison. Ryan Dougherty pleaded guilty to five counts of menacing and faces up to 20 years in prison, state court administrator’s office spokesman Jon Sarche said.
Their sister, 29-year-old Lee Grace Dougherty, pleaded guilty last week to reduced charges of first-degree assault and two counts of menacing, all felonies.
The pleas came in the 3rd Judicial District Court in Walsenburg under deals in which prosecutors agreed to drop more serious charges of attempted second-degree murder and other felonies filed against all three siblings.
All three will be sentenced on April 30. The agreements for all three allow them to serve their sentences at the same time as other sentences that may arise from convictions in Florida and Georgia.
Dylan Stanley-Dougherty also faced charges of conspiracy to escape and possession of contraband after he got out of his jail cell last month and delivered a note to his sister telling her he was going to break her out of jail, authorities said. Those charges were also dropped as part of his plea agreement.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have previously declined to comment, citing a gag order issued by Chief District Court Judge Claude Appel.
Prosecutors suspect Ryan Dougherty was the driver during the chase and alleged shootout while Dylan used the weapon.
During a September hearing, a Colorado Springs detective testified that Ryan Daugherty told him that they hatched a plan to rob a bank and take the money to flee to Mexico.
During the same hearing, defense attorneys pointed out statements made by the siblings to investigators that they were trying to scare off pursuing officers and not trying to hurt them.
Defense attorneys also noted that there didn’t appear to be bullet holes in the officers’ vehicles.
Ryan Dougherty had just been sentenced to register as a sex offender for a conviction of sending sexually explicit text messages to an 11-year-old girl.
The siblings’ mother, Barbara Bell of East Palatka, Fla., told The Associated Press in August that her son was discouraged by the terms of his probation and feared the conviction would prohibit him from seeing his newborn son.
Authorities in Florida said all three siblings had been living together in Lacoochee, Fla., about 45 miles northeast of Tampa, and each had a criminal record.
Lee Dougherty has charges pending against her in Florida for hit and run and had previously been charged with battery. Stanley Dougherty had been charged with marijuana possession.
By P. Solomon Banda, AP Writer (© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)