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Dougherty siblings from Pasco were ready for a gunbattle, Colorado authorities say

From left, siblings Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, and Lee-Grace Dougherty, 29, face several charges, including attempted murder, assault and vehicle theft. 

Times files

From left, siblings Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, and Lee-Grace Dougherty, 29, face several charges, including attempted murder, assault and vehicle theft. 

WALSENBURG, Colo. — A sister and two brothers from Pasco County, accused in a cross-country crime rampage that began when a Zephyrhills police officer was shot at, were prepared for a gunbattle, Colorado authorities testified at a hearing here Tuesday.

But a lawyer for the Dougherty siblings questioned that scenario, pointing out that no shots were reported when Colorado officers were close to the trio during a car chase.

The testimony came during a court hearing to determine whether Lee-Grace Dougherty, 29, and her brothers, Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, and Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, should stand trial.

Each is charged with five counts of attempted second-degree murder and five counts of first-degree assault. Each is also charged with vehicle theft, theft by receiving, and displaying fictitious or altered license plates. The siblings are also accused of robbing a bank in Georgia. They're also suspects in two car thefts in Utah.

The cross country manhunt for the Doughertys ended Aug. 10 near Walsenburg, Colo., about 150 miles south of Denver, after a chase on Interstate 25.

An FBI agent testified Tuesday that the siblings were prepared for a gunbattle and that 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. All but one of the weapons were 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. Lee-Grace Dougherty was shot in the leg after getting out of the crashed vehicle and aiming a gun at an officer, officials said.

The state trooper who led the chase, Mark Buneta, said he got within four or five car lengths of the siblings' car. However, on cross-examination, he said the shots were fired when there was more space between them and that he never saw a weapon.

Defense attorney Michael Emmons questioned why the siblings wouldn't have fired when they were closer if they had wanted to kill him.

Prosecutors say Ryan Dougherty was the driver during the Colorado chase, and they charged him with vehicular eluding. Lee-Grace Dougherty is charged with three additional first-degree assault counts.

Each defendant is being held in lieu of $1.25 million bail. The siblings have not yet entered pleas.

Information from Times files was used in this report.

Dougherty siblings from Pasco were ready for a gunbattle, Colorado authorities say 09/20/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 8:50pm]
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