Siblings planned life in Mexico after crime spree
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
WALSENBURG, Colo. (AP) — A sister and two brothers had planned to head to Mexico with money stolen in a Georgia bank robbery, then obtain fraudulent documents and elude authorities before the trio, now accused in a cross-country crime spree, were caught in Colorado, a detective said.
The details in the case emerged during a hearing Tuesday, with Colorado Springs police Det. Larry Dyer saying the youngest of the three, Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, told him that he hatched the idea the day he was sentenced to register as a sex offender. Dougherty had earlier been convicted of sending sexually explicit text messages to an 11-year-old girl.
“During the interview, he pretty much led me to believe that he was the mastermind of this plan,” Dyer said.
Colorado District Judge Claude Appel ruled that prosecutors had enough evidence to place Dougherty, his brother Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, and their sister Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, on trial for crimes related to a high-speed chase and shootout during capture.
The siblings are accused of robbing a bank in Georgia and shooting at police officers in Florida and Colorado. They’re also suspected in two car thefts in Utah.
The siblings haven’t entered pleas. A scheduling conference was set for Thursday.
The search for the Doughertys ended Aug. 10 near Walsenburg, about 150 miles south of Denver, following a chase on Interstate 25. The chase began when the trio was spotted near Colorado City.
An FBI agent testified Tuesday that the siblings were prepared for a gun battle and officers said they heard gunshots during the chase.
Agent Daniel Leyman said investigators found at least nine firearms in or near the siblings’ car, including two AK-47-type rifles, two machine pistols, two shotguns and three handguns. All but one of the weapons was loaded.
The Doughertys are accused of firing an AK-47 at pursuing officers before running over spike strips, blowing a tire, rolling their vehicle and crashing into a guardrail. No officers were hit by the automatic weapon fire. Authorities said Lee Grace Dougherty was shot in the leg after getting out of the crashed vehicle and aiming a gun at an officer.
Dyer and two FBI agents who interviewed the other two siblings testified that all three told them they never intended to hurt police.
“The only reason (for firing at police) would be to disable a police officer’s vehicle and not injure a police officer,” Dyer said.
Both Dylan Dougherty and Lee Grace Dougherty said they fired at police in Florida. None of the siblings said who fired shots in Colorado.
Additional details also emerged on the trio’s alleged bank robbery. Lee Grace Dougherty was to be the lookout and keep the bank’s door open, Dylan Dougherty was to take control of the room, and Ryan’s role was to jump over the counter and take the money, authorities said.
The trio made off with about $5,200 in the Georgia bank robbery and had spent about $1,000 of it by the time police caught up with them in Colorado, authorities said.
Before getting to Colorado, the trio traveled through Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, as well as Texas, where they obtained a license plate near Dallas, Dyer testified.
Dyer said the trio took back roads in their travels to avoid authorities and got lost while in Mississippi, even though they had a GPS system.
He said Ryan Dougherty refused to turn on the GPS, fearing it might contain a tracking device.
Each sibling is charged with five counts of attempted second-degree murder and five counts of first-degree assault, with each of those charges carrying a separate sentence enhancing charge of a being crime of violence.
Each of the three also is charged with vehicle theft, theft by receiving, and displaying fictitious or altered license plates. Each is being held on a $1.25 million bond.
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