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Dougherty Gang: All Three Fugitive Siblings Face Sentencing (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

By P. SOLOMON BANDA 04/30/12 08:01 PM ET AP

Dougherty Gang Court

DENVER — Three Florida siblings accused in a multistate crime spree that involved a daring bank robbery in Georgia were given prison time Monday on charges in Colorado, where they were captured after a nationwide manhunt.

Ryan Dougherty was given 18 years, Lee Grace Dougherty received 24 years and Dylan Stanley-Dougherty got 32 years – the maximum he faced_ at separate hearings. Prosecutors say Stanley-Dougherty was the one who fired at officers pursuing the siblings before their Aug. 10 capture.

The hearings effectively end the siblings' stay in Colorado as Georgia authorities await their extradition.

The three were the focus of a cross-country search last year after authorities say they fired at a police officer in Florida and robbed a Georgia bank. The search ended with a police chase in Colorado, where authorities say Stanley-Dougherty fired at officers before the siblings' car rolled and crashed into a guard rail.

Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, had faced up to 28 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree assault and two counts of menacing in the Colorado case. In court Monday, the judge told her that as the oldest of the three siblings, she should have shown better judgment.

"I'd like to say it was a lapse in judgment, but 10 days is not a lapse in judgment," Lee Grace Dougherty said. "It was bad, poor judgment."

All three are expected to soon be transported to Albany, Ga., where they face a May 15 court hearing.

In the robbery case, witnesses say two men and a woman, dressed in black and wearing masks, entered a Valdosta, Ga., bank Aug. 2 and fired shots into the ceiling. One carried an assault rifle and an automatic pistol, similar to weapons recovered after the siblings' capture.

The trio made off with about $5,200 and had spent about $1,000 of it by the time police caught up with them in Colorado, authorities said.

The three also are charged with firing shots at a police officer in Zephyrhills, Fla., some 210 miles south of Valdosta, during a high-speed chase earlier on Aug. 2.

In Florida, the siblings are charged with fleeing or eluding and attempted second-degree murder of a law enforcement officer. Convictions could mean life sentences, according to court officials. Ryan Dougherty also is charged with grand theft auto.

Florida authorities said the three had been living together in Lacoochee, Fla., about 45 miles northeast of Tampa, and each had a criminal record.

Before the alleged crime spree, Ryan Dougherty was sentenced to register as a sex offender for sending sexually explicit text messages to an 11-year-old girl. His mother, Barbara Bell of East Palatka, Fla., said her son feared the conviction would prohibit him from seeing his newborn son.

Lee Grace Dougherty said in court that her actions were prompted by her desire to protect Ryan.

"My motivation in all of this is I could not lose another sibling," she said, referring to a sister who died of an illness. "He's not only my brother. He is my best friend."

Dylan Stanley-Dougherty's lawyer, Kobea Becker, also portrayed his client as a loyal family member who was desperate to help his younger brother.

But Judge Claude Appel didn't buy the explanation.

"You're saving your brother from a probation sentence, for crying out loud, not a prison sentence," he said of the siblings' efforts to prevent Ryan from having to register.

Later, Appel told Ryan that the plan they tried to pull off only works in the movies.

"In reality, this is how the movie ends, serving very lengthy sentences," the judge said.

Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney for Florida's 6th Judicial District, said authorities there also are seeking extradition.

"We'll be seeking sentences that ensure they spend most of their life in prison, if not all of it, so if and when they were to get out of prison they would no longer pose a threat to everyone," Bartlett said in a phone interview.

Ryan Dougherty told authorities in Colorado that the three hoped to escape to Mexico.

Lee Grace Dougherty was shot in the knee when she pointed a gun at a police officer after the siblings rolled their car on Interstate 25 in Colorado.

Prosecutors say Dylan Stanley-Dougherty was the one who fired an assault rifle at pursuing officers before the siblings' capture in Colorado, and was also the one who fired at a police officer in Florida and a bank robbery in Georgia. During the hearing, he told the judge he was sorry and didn't want to hurt anyone.

"It is true that I acted out of desperation, and I am sorry for choices that I made," he said.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Lee Grace Dougherty Personal Photo

    Personal photo from Lee Grace Dougherty's <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53633968@N06/" target="_hplink">Flickr account</a>.

  • Lee Grace Dougherty Personal Photo

    Personal photo from Lee Grace Dougherty's <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53633968@N06/" target="_hplink">Flickr account</a>.

  • Lee Grace Dougherty Personal Photo

    Personal photo from Lee Grace Dougherty's <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53633968@N06/" target="_hplink">Flickr account</a>.

  • Lee Grace Dougherty Personal Photo

    Personal photo from Lee Grace Dougherty's <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53633968@N06/" target="_hplink">Flickr account</a>.

  • Lee Grace Dougherty Personal Photo

    Personal photo from Lee Grace Dougherty's <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53633968@N06/" target="_hplink">Flickr account</a>.

  • Dougherty Gang

    In this undated FBI photo, Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, and Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, are shown. Police said Tuesday they have received "credible information" that people matching the description of three siblings connected to crimes in Florida and Georgia were spotted in Colorado. Authorities have been pursuing Ryan Edward Dougherty, Dylan Stanley-Dougherty and Lee Grace Dougherty since Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011.

  • Fugitive Dougherty Siblings Captured in Colorado

    The Dougherty's car is seen crashed near Wallensburg, CO on Wednesday Aug. 10, 2011.

  • Fugitive Dougherty Siblings Captured in Colorado

    Officials from the Colorado State Patrol and Pueblo County Sheriff's Office surround a crashed white Subaru Impreza that was carrying the fugitive Dougherty Siblings Wednesday Aug. 10, 2011. The siblings set off on a multi-state crime spree last week, after shooting at a Florida police officer and robbing a bank in Valdosta, GA.

  • Fugitive Dougherty Siblings Captured in Colorado

    The Dougherty's car is seen crashed near Wallensburg, CO on Wednesday Aug. 10, 2011.

  • Fugitive Dougherty Siblings Captured in Colorado

    An unidentifed member of the Dougherty gang is seen being taken away on a stretcher after crashing following a high speed pursuit with law enforcement outside Wallensburg, CO on Wednesday Aug. 10, 2011.

  • Fugitive Dougherty Siblings Captured in Colorado

    An unidentifed member of the Dougherty gang is seen being taken away on a stretcher after crashing following a high speed pursuit with law enforcement outside Wallensburg, CO on Wednesday Aug. 10, 2011.

  • Dougherty Gang

    Heavily armed: The gang during the Georgia bank robbery. Two held guns while one grabbed the money

  • Dougherty Gang

    Heavily armed: The gang during the Georgia bank robbery. Two held guns while one grabbed the money

  • Dougherty Gang

    Billboards are going up along interstates describing the fugitive siblings and the car they were last spotted in.

  • Dougherty Gang

    Billboards are going up along interstates describing the fugitive siblings and the car they were last spotted in.

  • Dougherty Gang

    Zephyrhills Police Department dash cam of Doughtery suspects

  • Dougherty Gang

    Zephyrhills Police Department dash cam of Doughtery suspects

  • Dylan Stanley-Dougherty

    This photo provided by the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 shows Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26. An FBI manhunt for Stanley and his two siblings ended Wednesday with a police chase in Colorado, where shots were fired at officers before the suspects' car rolled and crashed into a guard rail. The siblings are accused of shooting at a police officer in Florida and robbing a Georgia bank. (AP Photo/Pueblo County Sheriff's Office)

  • Lee Grace Dougherty

    This photo provided by the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 shows Lee Grace Dougherty, 29. An FBI manhunt for Dougherty and her two brothers ended Wednesday with a police chase in Colorado, where shots were fired at officers before the suspects' car rolled and crashed into a guard rail. The siblings are accused of shooting at a police officer in Florida and robbing a Georgia bank. (AP Photo/Pueblo County Sheriff's Office)

  • Ryan Dougherty

    This photo provided Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2011 by the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office shows Ryan Dougherty, 21. An FBI manhunt for Dougherty and his two siblings ended Wednesday with a police chase in Colorado, where shots were fired at officers before the suspects' car rolled and crashed into a guard rail. The siblings are accused of shooting at a police officer in Florida and robbing a Georgia bank. (AP Photo/Pueblo County Sheriff's Office)

  • After The Arrest

    FBI agents sort through bags of evidence that they confiscated after the arrest of three fugitive siblings wanted in Florida and Georgia after they crashed their automobile and were arrested near Walsenburg, Colo., on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Spanish Peak's Medical Center in Colorado

    Police guard the emergency entrance to Spanish Peak's Medical Center in Walsenburg, Colo., where three fugitive siblings wanted in Florida and Georgia are being treated after they crashed their automobile and were arrested near Walsenburg, Colo., on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21; Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26; and Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, were targets of a nationwide search after they were accused of the crime spree. The three were captured Wednesday in Colorado after crashing their car into a highway barrier during a high-speed chase. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Lee Grace Dougherty

    Lee Grace Dougherty appears in district court to be advised of the charges against her in Walsenburg, Colo., on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. She faces four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and assault involving the Aug. 10 chase that ended a nationwide manhunt. The case was moved from Pueblo County to Huerfano County, where the manhunt ended. Lee Grace Dougherty and her brothers are also are accused of shooting at another officer in Florida and robbing a bank in Georgia. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Ryan Dougherty

    Ryan Dougherty appears in district court to be advised of the charges against him in Walsenburg, Colo., on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. He faces four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and assault involving the Aug. 10 chase that ended a nationwide manhunt. The case was moved from Pueblo County to Huerfano County, where the manhunt ended. Ryan Dougherty and his brother and sister are also are accused of shooting at another officer in Florida and robbing a bank in Georgia. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Dylan Stanley-Dougherty

    Dylan Stanley-Dougherty appears in district court to be advised of the charges against him in Walsenburg, Colo., on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. He faces four counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and assault involving the Aug. 10 chase that ended a nationwide manhunt. The case was moved from Pueblo County to Huerfano County, where the manhunt ended. Dylan Stanley-Dougherty and his siblings are also are accused of shooting at another officer in Florida and robbing a bank in Georgia. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Ryan Edward Dougherty Arrives At Courthouse

    Ryan Edward Doughtery, right, arrives at the courthouse in Walsenburg, Colo., on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, for a preliminary hearing. Ryan, 21, and his sister Lee Grace Doughtery, 29, and brother Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, 26, are accused in a cross-country crime spree that began in Florida and ended with a police chase and gunplay in Colorado.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Dylan Stanley-Dougherty Arrives At Courthouse

    Dylan Stanley-Dougherty, left, arrives at the courthouse in Walsenburg, Colo., on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, for a preliminary hearing. Dylan and his sister Lee Grace Doughtery, 29, and brother Ryan Edward Doughtery, 21, are accused in a cross-country crime spree that began in Florida and ended with a police chase and gunplay in Colorado. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

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