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FBI says Dougherty siblings well-armed, but defense plays down the threat they posed to cops
WALSENBURG, Colo. (AP) ' A sister and two brothers accused in a cross-country crime spree that began in Florida fired at pursuing officers and were prepared for a gun battle, authorities testified Tuesday. But one lawyer for the siblings questioned that scenario, pointing out that no shots were reported when officers were close to the trio.
The testimony came during a hearing in state district court to determine whether Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, and her brothers, Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, and Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, should stand trial.
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.
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 widely publicized cross-country manhunt 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 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.
"I deserved to get shot," she later told authorities, according to an arrest affidavit.
The state trooper who led the chase, Mark Buneta, said he got within four of 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.
Huerfano County sheriff's Deputy Joseph Albano testified that he saw a woman holding a gun hanging out of the rear passenger side of the siblings' car. When defense attorney Patrick McCarville asked whether it was possible he could have mistaken Lee Grace for Dylan, who also has long hair, Albano insisted he saw a woman.
"I know what was looking back at me with a gun and it was a female," he said.
Prosecutors accuse Ryan Dougherty of being the driver during the Colorado chase and charged him with vehicular eluding. Lee Grace Dougherty is charged with three additional first-degree assault counts, each with an accompanying charge of being a crime of violence.
Each defendant is being held on a $1.25 million bond.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have declined to discuss evidence involving any of the Colorado charges, citing a limited gag order issued by a judge at the request of lawyers for two of the siblings.
The siblings have not yet entered pleas.