Movies tend to glamorize criminals and crime sprees. Sometimes they’re even comedies. Most of the time, you’re manipulated into pulling for the bandits, and not for the police. It’s just more fun.
Maybe the Dougherty Gang thought they were such heroes in a film. A federal judge disavowed them of that recently.
The three siblings who went on a shooting-filled crime spree from Florida to Colorado last year were each sentenced to 35 years-plus in prison for their robbery of a bank in Valdosta. In the incident, two of them fired guns into the ceiling as the third scooped up cash.
Ryan Dougherty, Lee Grace Dougherty and Dylan Dougherty Stanley already had been sentenced to 18, 24 and 32 years, respectively, for their go-down-with-a-fight capture in Colorado. They led authorities on a high-speed chase there, firing at pursuing officers – much as their spree began when fleeing a Florida officer who tried to stop them for speeding near Tampa.
The woman in the gang, Lee Grace Dougherty, even had to be shot by Colorado police when she pointed a gun at officers one last time.
These poor-man’s Bonnie and Clyde and Clyde will go down as a mere footnote, but for only two reasons not of their doing: 1) they were captured within days; and 2) no one was killed.
“I just think it is a miracle that no one was killed,” senior Judge Hugh Lawson said in sentencing them.
Despite that amazing grace, they perpetrated some of the most blatant, anti-social, intolerable crimes out there. Robbing a bank these days isn’t like knocking off the payroll wagon in the Old West; in comparison, it’s like taking on Fort Knox. And to do so, firing weapons at that, is traumatic for everyone working or doing business there.
And to shoot at police officers repeatedly, in Florida and Colorado? If you’ll shoot at an armed law enforcement officer, you’ll do anything.
They’re lucky, and so was everyone in their path, that in the process of throwing their own lives away this gang didn’t do more damage to others. They’ll quickly be forgotten by most.
That may not be such a good thing. Might be better to tack their story onto the credits of the next ain’t-crime-fun movie.