Dougherty brothers plead guilty in Colorado

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 16, 2012 8:38 PM
Dougherty brothers plead guilty in Colorado

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Two of the three Florida siblings accused of shooting at police while trying to elude capture following a three-state crime spree pleaded guilty to lesser charges in Colorado on Thursday as part of a deal with prosecutors, court documents showed.

Dylan Stanley Dougherty and Ryan Edward Dougherty, who were both initially charged with attempted murder among other crimes, pleaded guilty to assault and menacing charges in Huerfano County District Court.

The brothers, along with sister Lee Grace Dougherty, became targets of a nationwide manhunt last summer after they were sought over accusations they shot at a Florida police officer and robbed a bank in Georgia.

All three were arrested in southern Colorado in August after leading police on a high-speed chase in a stolen car and engaging in a running gun battle with pursuing officers, according to arrest warrant affidavits.

In court on Thursday, Dylan Dougherty, 26, pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree assault and will serve between 10 and 32 years in prison when he is sentenced.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped more than 20 other counts against him, including conspiracy to escape and possession of a homemade knife related to a thwarted jailbreak last month.

Ryan Dougherty, 22, pleaded guilty to five counts of felony menacing in exchange for the dismissal of the other charges, and faces a maximum 20-year sentence.

Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of felony menacing and attempted first-degree assault. She faces between nine and 28 years in prison.

Citing a gag order imposed by District Court Judge Claude Appel, defense lawyers and prosecutors have declined to comment.

Under their plea deals with prosecutors, any sentences the siblings could receive for the Florida and Georgia cases will run concurrent with the Colorado prison terms.

A federal grand jury has indicted the Doughertys for robbing the Georgia bank of $5,168, and for using firearms in the commission of a violent crime, federal court records show.

Ryan Dougherty also was indicted for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm during the bank hold-up. All three will be sentenced in the Colorado cases on April 30.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston)