Apr 30, 2012 10:34 PM by David Ortiviz

Florida siblings apologize to local troopers before sentencing

Today three siblings from Florida got sentenced to decades in prison for crimes they committed in Colorado. Dylan, Lee Grace and Ryan Dougherty are now in federal custody to face charges in Georgia.

In a Walsenburg courtroom, it was time to face the music for the Dougherty siblings and emotions ran high. "It is true that I acted out of desperation (long pause) and I am sorry for the choices that I made," said Dylan Dougherty.

"This was not a good decision at all, this was a really bad decision," said Lee Grace. "I did not set out to harm anyone. My only thought was to get my brother safely to a new country and start a new life," said Lee Grace. She was talking about about her younger brother, Ryan a registered sex offender who was on probation in Florida.

On August 10, 2011, the siblings were spotted driving I-25 from Pueblo County to Huerfano County. The trio led troopers and other law enforcement on a high speed chase and shootout. Today 8-months removed from that infamous day, Dylan, Lee Grace and Ryan all apologized to the officers they could have killed. "I genuinely am sorry for what happened," said Ryan.

"This is a life changing event for them, they're all going to spend decades in jail," said Mark Buneta, with the Colorado State Patrol.

Trooper Buneta, a 20-year veteran from Pueblo West, was in the patrol car right behind the Dougherty's as prosecutors say at least 11 rounds were fired. Now behind them in the courtroom, the siblings' tears had little impact. "They're all adults and they know right from wrong," said Buneta. "The sentences that were given, they're pretty significant. So I'm not going to say I'm happy people are going to jail but they committed crimes and people could have gotten hurt and family's could have been changed forever."

Buenta, a husband and father of four says that fateful day still affects him. "You think about the what ifs, but in the end everybody came home and that was the best turnout there could have been," said Buneta. As for how things turned out in court today,.he says it's a day of justice.

Originally the Dougherty's had been charged with attempted murder, but those charges were reduced to assault in a plea aggrement. Mark's wife Tina was disappointed by the plea deal. "I was angry, I wanted to see these three have the books thrown at them to the full extent," said Tina Buneta. "After listening to statements, at end of day. My husband came home and that the most important thing and none of my peers got hurt," she added.

The Dougherty's will now head to Georgia to face federal bank robbery and firearms charges.



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