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Dougherty gang sentenced in Colorado for police shootout

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Three Florida siblings who pleaded guilty to shooting at police while trying to elude them following a multistate crime spree last year were sentenced on Monday to lengthy prison terms by a Colorado judge.

Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, and her brothers Dylan Stanley Dougherty, 27, and Ryan Edward Dougherty, 22, appeared together in Huerfano County District Court to be sentenced after pleading guilty to felony assault and menacing charges.

Dylan Dougherty was sentenced to 32 years for first-degree assault, Ryan Dougherty received 18 years on five counts of felony menacing, and Lee Dougherty got 24 years for felony menacing and attempted first-degree assault, said Rob McCallum, spokesman for the Office of the State Court Administrator.

The trio made nationwide headlines last August after authorities accused them of shooting at a Florida police officer and robbing a bank in Georgia before fleeing the southeast United States and heading west.

The fugitives were spotted in southern Colorado and engaged in a running gun battle with police before crashing their stolen car near Walsenburg, Colorado, about 160 miles south of Denver. All three were arrested at the crash scene.

Prosecutors said Ryan Dougherty was behind the wheel while Dylan Dougherty fired on pursuing officers with an AK-47. Lee Dougherty was shot in the leg by Walsenburg police chief James Chamberlain after she leveled a handgun at him.

In live court footage aired on local TV stations, a tearful Dylan Dougherty told Judge Claude Appel that he "never wanted to hurt anybody," and apologized for his actions.

"It is true that I acted out of desperation," he said. "I'm sorry for the choices I made."

Before imposing sentence, the judge told Dylan Dougherty that his words were courageous, but that his role in the shoot out was an act of "cowardice."

Initially charged with attempted murder, the siblings agreed to plead guilty in February to lesser charges.

But their legal troubles are not over. A federal grand jury in Georgia indicted the siblings for robbing a bank in Valdosta of $5,168 and using firearms, according to the indictment.

Under the plea agreements, any sentence they could receive for the Florida and Georgia cases will run concurrent with the Colorado sentences.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb, Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)

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