Prosecutors lay out case against Dougherty siblings

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 20, 2011 4:29 PM
Prosecutors lay out case against Dougherty siblings

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado prosecutors on Tuesday began laying out their attempted murder case against the three Florida siblings accused of shooting at police during a high-speed chase that followed a sensational multi-state crime spree.

Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, and her brothers Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, and Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, appeared before a Huerfano County District judge for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for the trio to stand trial.

Security was tight outside the courthouse in Walsenburg, Colorado when the shackled defendants were escorted into the courtroom.

The Doughertys became targets of a nationwide manhunt last month after allegedly shooting at a Florida police officer. While on the run, the trio is also suspected of robbing a bank in Georgia, and of auto theft in Utah.

The fugitives were arrested August 10 near Walsenburg after they allegedly led police on a high-speed chase and exchanged gunfire with pursuing officers.

Each faces five counts of second-degree attempted murder and multiple counts of first-degree assault and auto theft in the Colorado cases.

At Tuesday's hearing, which is expected to last most of the day, Judge Richard Appel heard testimony from two police officers who said they were fired on by the Doughertys as the fleeing fugitives raced down a Colorado interstate at speeds up to 120 miles per hour in a stolen car.

No officers were injured in the shootout, but investigators testified that they found an array of weapons in the vehicle, including two AK-47s, a shotgun, and other handguns. Police said they also recovered 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

The fugitives were arrested after they crashed the vehicle.

Lee Dougherty was shot in the leg by an officer after she leveled a handgun at him after a brief foot chase.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, she admitted to pointing a machine pistol at the officer, and that she "deserved to get shot."

The former exotic dancer also said her brother was firing at pursuing police not to hit them, but to get them "to back off," the affidavit said.

According to prosecutors, Ryan Dougherty was behind the wheel of the stolen car while Dylan Dougherty Stanley fired on pursuing officers with an AK-47.

Each is being held on a $1.25 million bond.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune)