Trial ordered for man accused of murder, torture in father’s death


A Vista judge on Tuesday, April 17, ordered the son of a Rancho Santa Fe man to face trial on a murder charge in the beating death of the elder man last May.

Leighton Dorey IV has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, and a special circumstance allegation of torture in the death of his father, Leighton Dorey III.

At the end of a preliminary hearing for Dorey IV, Superior Court Judge David Danielsen said prosecutors had presented enough evidence to support the murder charge and the allegation of torture, citing a number of factors, including “clear evidence of force,” and the “number and extent of injuries” inflicted on the 71-year-old victim.

“This is a circumstance where there were intentionally inflicted wounds which appear to this court were for the intent of inflicting prolonged suffering,” Danielsen said.

The younger Dorey, now 40, had been living in France for a few years, and had returned stateside in the week before the attack on his father on May 30, 2017.

The beating was so severe that at least two teeth were knocked out, and others were fractured.

Forensic pathologist Jacquelyn Morhaime testified Tuesday that the elder Dorey died from strangulation and blunt force injuries of the head, neck and torso.

Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca argued Tuesday that money was at the root of the dispute.

“The defendant wanted financial support from his father, which his father was not willing to give him,” she said.

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