by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG- Once again amid tight security, one of the Dougherty siblings made an appearance in Third Judicial District Court in Walsenburg this week.
On Monday, Oct. 31, Lee Grace Dougherty appear before District Judge Claude Appel and entered a formal plea of not guilty to a host of local felony charges.
Dougherty appeared with counsel, Colorado Deputy State Public Defender Patrick McCarville while the state was represented by Third Judicial District Attorney Frank Ruybalid.
As the 10 am proceeding got underway Judge Appel admonished Ruybalid for being late, saying he expected all parties to the case to be in the courtroom and ready 15 minutes prior to any scheduled session. Ruybalid and a deputy district attorney arrived at the court just moments before the hearing after the defendant had already been escorted into the courtroom.
The arraignment hearing was brief, lasting just a few minutes as Dougherty entered a plea of not guilty to all charges.
In addition a Feb. 21, 2012 trial date was set for the defendant. Her trial has been scheduled for two weeks.
Dougherty and her brothers, Dylan Stanley-Dougherty and Ryan Dougherty face a number of charges associated with a high speed chase and alleged shooting that occurred on I-25 on August 10, 2011. The siblings were taken into custody just outside of Walsenburg that day when their allegedly stolen vehicle crashed at Exit 52 as authorities from the Pueblo Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado State Patrol were in pursuit of the trio.
The siblings were the subject of a nationwide manhunt last summer after allegedly shooting at a police officer in Florida and robbing a bank in Georgia.
During the August 10 incident, Lee Grace Dougherty was shot by Walsenburg Police Chief James Chamberlain after she climbed from the wrecked car and allegedly pointed a gun in the direction of officers.
The Dougherty trio face multiple felony charges of attempted second degree murder for allegedly shooting at police during the August chase on southbound I-25, as well as charges of first degree assault, motor vehicle theft and other counts. The attempted murder and assault charges each carry crime of violence sentencing enhancers.
Huerfano County Sheriff’s Deputies, CSP Troopers and Walsenburg Police Officers once again Monday provided tight security for the hearing. Dougherty was escorted into the courtroom by three deputies and Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman. Walsenburg Police Chief James Chamberlain was also in attendance. Deputies and state troopers provided exterior security at the courthouse and streets around the building were once again cordoned off by crime scene tape and police vehicles.
The extraordinary security measures have been in effect for all prior hearings on orders of Judge Appel.
Dylan and Ryan Dougherty are scheduled to appear in district court at 10 a.m., November 28 for disposition hearings.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward