And the judge has decided that all events leading up to Lee Grace’s arrest will be introduced in trial, including the alleged crimes she and her brothers committed in Florida and Georgia.
Lee Grace appeared before a judge in Huerfano County Monday in a yellow jumpsuit and braids. The court addressed around 90 motions, concluding the 96 filed mostly by the defense.
During the nearly four hour hearing 11 News learned a number of things about what you can expect during the trial of Lee Grace.
The prosecution says they may bring both brothers, Ryan and Dylan Stanley, to the stand to testify during the hearing that is set for February 21st.
The trial will also include testimony and evidence from the alleged crimes committed by the trio in other states. The siblings are accused of shooting at police officers in Florida in order to help Ryan escape probation. And they are accused of robbing a bank at gun point in Georgia.
Among the various motions were requests to have testimony and evidence from the Dougherty sibling’s alleged crimes in Florida and Georgia blocked from the trial. Public Defender Patrick McCarville asked that the trial only focus on the events during and after the moment Lee Grace pointed a gun at the Walsenburg police chief. He feels this was the only alleged crime that had evidentiary support.
District Attorney Frank Ruybalid laid out to the judge that evidence from the trio’s entire manhunt should be presented in court. Ruybalid said the jury needed to hear the whole story, in order to establish Lee Grace’s intent while in Colorado.
Ruybalid said that testimony and evidence from the entire sequence of events needed to be introduced in order to support complicity. Basically this means that Lee Grace had knowledge of, participated, or supported the prior crimes and knew that such actions were likely to happen again in Colorado if the trio was pursued by officers. Ruybalid said they will work to show the jury that the timeline proves she was aiding and abetting her brothers in order to help Ryan escape probation and evade officers. 11 News learned in a prior court hearing that the trio was planning to escape to Mexico.
By having knowledge or partaking in the other crimes in Florida and Georgia, she was an accessory to the crimes in Colorado, noted Ruybalid.
The prosecution told the judge that “the chain of events shows consistent intent by Lee Grace to evade law enforcement and fire at law enforcement when necessary to secure their escape.” And that she was aware her brothers had the same intent they had in Florida and Georgia.
The prosecution also told the court they are pursuing their trial with the “complicity theory” because it is unclear if Lee Grace was the one firing at law enforcement officers during the high speed chase down I-25 that ended in Walsenburg. During the preliminary hearing, 11 News heard testimony from two Huerfano County Sheriff deputies who testified that they were convinced Lee Grace was the one pointing the gun out the window and pulling the trigger, shooting at the five pursuing vehicles.
During Monday’s hearing, Ruybalid said he believed “they were sincere, but mistaken.”
Ruybalid said it was unclear, but “was more likely Dylan” who was shooting at officers. The prosecution discussed how the duo looks very similar, both with long hair and similar facial features.
Surveillance video from the gas station in Colorado City where the siblings were spotted moments before the chase ensued was discussed in court. The video reportedly showed a female getting into the front passenger seat, and a male getting into the back seat. It was determined during investigation that Dylan was the only brother who could have pulled the trigger as Ryan was driving. When the car was discovered, the front passenger window was rolled up, and the back window down.
The defense argued that these charges and evidence from the chase should not be presented since there was a lack of proof that Lee Grace was the one shooting at officers.
The prosecution had to lay out in detail to the judge why this information was relevant to their case as they tried to prove complicity.
Ruybalid mentioned how the mere act of pumping gas could be considered aiding and abetting.
He also brought up evidence that shows all three loaded the guns into the car and that Lee Grace was familiar with at least one of the weapons, using it in the Georgia bank robbery.
He also showed that Lee Grace’s intent in the crimes was not for money or self-indulgence but a way to protect her brothers and help Ryan escape from probation. Ruybalid mentioned how she took the blame for her brothers on a number of occasions.
McCarville felt that including the other events leading up to her arrest would only establish bad character to a jury. He called the prosecution’s method a “shotgun approach” and said that it was “fighting trial by ambush.” He wanted the D.A. to create a more detailed bill of particulars.
The judge disagreed. He ruled that it was logical to view the entire sequence of events and that it does not show bad character or unfair prejudice. And that it was relevant to establish intent.
The defense argued that nothing could possibly be proven about what happened in the car, but the judge wanted to have that decided in a trial.
Testimony from Florida and Georgia law enforcement officials will be allowed in the trial as well as evidence of the crimes. This includes comparisons of shell casings from Florida, Georgia and Colorado. And evidence that shows the money found in the siblings' car in Colorado matched the serial numbers of the money stolen from a bank in Georgia. The jury will also hear interviews conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation where the siblings acknowledge the other crimes.
Stolen car charges against the siblings may be dropped because of conflicting testimony by Ryan’s girlfriend who initially reported the car stolen. She may have given Ryan permission to steal it.
Lee Grace and her brothers face more than 20 charges each. They were arrested when a nationwide manhunt culminated in a high-speed chase down I-25 and a crash near Walsenburg.
After the crash, Lee Grace is accused of pointing a gun at Walsenburg Police Chief James Chamberlain. The Chief shot her in the leg.
Ryan and Dylan Dougherty will be in court at the end of January for a possible plea hearing, at which time they are expected to accept a plea deal.
Lee Grace’s trial will begin February 21st. It does not appear the defense will ask for a change of venue.
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