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Colorado convictions moot; federal judge sentences Dougherty sibs to 35 years

staff report

VALDOSTA, GA — A rainy Monday in south Georgia brought near to a close the saga of the Dougherty siblings and their 2011 crime spree that included a bank robbery and an unsuccessful shoot out with Colorado authorities.
Senior Judge Hugh Lawson sentenced Ryan Dougherty, Lee Grace Dougherty and Dylan Dougherty Stanley to identical 35-year sentences for their role in the August 2011 robbery of a south Georgia bank. The siblings held up the Certus Bank on Norman Drive in Valdosta last August, it was just one stop along their cross-country crime spree that eventually landed them in jail.
Each sibling made an apology to the employees of the bank and to law enforcement. Judge Huge Lawson said it was a miracle no one was killed during their crime spree.
The siblings still face sentencing in Florida for shooting at an officer during a high speed chase.
They’ve already been sentenced in Colorado where their crime spree ended with a chase and shootout. They’ll serve their Georgia and Colorado sentences concurrently.
The three have already pleaded guilty to Colorado charges stemming from their capture in August 2011. Ryan Dougherty got 18 years, Lee Grace Dougherty received 24 years and Dylan Dougherty Stanley got 32 years for those charges.
The sentences in Colorado were vacated as part of a plea agreement that called for reconsideration based on the sentences the siblings would receive in Georgia and Florida. Chief District Court Judge Claude Appel in his Oct. 22 order temporarily setting aside the sentences retained jurisdiction to re-impose the sentences if necessary. In handing down the sentences in April for the crimes committed in Colorado, Appel said they were meant to ensure the siblings were held accountable.
The sibling’s plea agreement called for allowing them to serve their sentences at the same time as other sentences for charges they might face in Georgia and Florida.
Lawson sentenced each sibling to 35 years and eight months, and to five years of supervised release after their prison sentences. He said that with good conduct they could get out of jail after 30 years.
The siblings became wanted fugitives Aug. 2, 2011, when they fled from a police officer trying to pull over their car for speeding northeast of Tampa.
The chase reached speeds of 100 mph, and at least 20 gunshots were fired from the fleeing car at the pursuing officer. The suspects got away after a bullet burst a tire on the police car.
Shots were fired at the officers before police used spike strips to puncture the tires of the suspects’ Subaru. Lee Dougherty bolted from the crash on foot. Walsenburg Police Chief James Chamberlain shot her in the leg after she pointed a pistol at him, authorities said.
The hunt ended eight days after it began when two retired law officers in Colorado spotted the suspects in the San Isabel National Forest. The fugitives again tried to escape, leading police on a 20-mile chase on Interstate 25 that ended in Walsenburg, about 150 miles south of Denver.
In court Monday, the lawyer for Lee Grace Dougherty said she pointed her weapon at the officer in Colorado only because she was afraid someone would shoot her brother and because she was suicidal and wanted police to shoot her.
Thanks to the Orlando Sentinel and Lydia Jenning of WALB-ABC TV