Hearing starts for son accused of beating father to death in Rancho Santa Fe home


Kimberley Dorey knew her 71-year-old husband was home that morning on May 30, 2017. She had just spoken to him on the phone, and he told her that his namesake son had just come over.

But when she arrived at their Rancho Santa Fe home moments later, she couldn’t find her husband, Leighton Dorey III. As she searched the four-acre property for him, Kimberley Dorey grew increasingly anxious.

“I was struck with an absolute panic — ‘You’re looking for blood, Kim,’” she testified in a Vista courtroom Monday. April 16. She said she had “a history of being afraid” of what her stepson might do to his father.

Moments later, she found Dorey’s bloody, battered body at the bottom of stairs. And his son — whose Jeep had been in the driveway when she’d returned home from an errand — was gone.

Her testimony came during the first day of a preliminary hearing for her stepson, 40-year-old Leighton Dorey IV.

Dorey, whose family calls him “L.B.,” has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, and an allegation of torture in the death of his father. He faces at least 25 years to life if convicted.

The younger Dorey had been living in France for a few years, and had returned stateside in the week before his father was brutally beaten.

Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca, Kimberley Dorey said her stepson had shown up at their home on La Brisa four days before the attack, and that she, her husband and stepson had a pleasant visit together.

During that visit, she said, her stepson said he was out of money and would have to live in his car.

She said her husband yelled out “I love you, L.B,” as his son left that morning.

On cross-examination by defense attorney Wil Rumble, Kimberley Dorey said she has suspected that the younger Dorey suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and that he had told his father that a dentist implanted some sort of a device in his teeth.

She also testified that the younger Dorey had seen psychologists.

Sheriff’s homicide Detective Christi Ramirez testified that investigators found bloody footprints — of a person wearing socks — around the body. In the nearby bathroom, they found blood in the shower and sink, both of which were still wet from recent use.

The younger Dorey was arrested the following morning in the Riverside County community of Idyllwild.

Testimony in the hearing will continue Tuesday, April 17. After it wraps up, Superior Court Judge David Danielsen will decide if enough evidence exists to try the defendant.

-- Teri Figueroa is a writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune