Son convicted of murder in Rancho Santa Fe father’s 2017 beating death
Leighton ‘L.B.’ Dorey faces life without parole in attack on 71-year-old father; younger man said he acted in self-defense
A man who strangled and beat his father to death in the elder man’s Rancho Santa Fe home in 2017 was convicted Wednesday, June 1, of murder.
A San Diego Superior Court jury deliberated about a day before finding Leighton “L.B.” Dorey IV guilty. Jurors also found true a special circumstances allegation that the brutal attack amounted to torture.
Dorey, 44, faces life in prison without parole when Superior Court Judge Carlos Armour sentences him June 29.
The verdict comes five years and two days after Leighton Dorey III was found bloody and beaten in his home on May 30, 2017.
“I’m just so happy that justice was done,” Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca said Wednesday afternoon, June 1. “This victim deserved justice, and he finally got it.”
The son represented himself at the weeks-long trial, which was actually a retrial — three years ago, a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting him.
At both trials, there was no dispute that the younger man had killed his father. The defendant took the stand in each trial and testified that he had done it.
The defendant — who was about 2 inches taller, 20 pounds heavier and 32 years younger than his father — said it was self defense.
In the four years before the killing, the son had lived in France, and had returned stateside just days before the deadly encounter. The victim’s wife returned from an errand and found his body at the bottom of a staircase.
An autopsy revealed the victim had been beaten and choked. Several of his teeth had been knocked out. The prosecution said he had fractures to his spine, neck and ribs, as well as a broken nose and broken jaw.
Lavermicocca argued that the defendant was angry with his father because he refused to finance his lifestyle.
At the trial last month, Dorey took the stand and detailed his financial troubles, his issues finding consistent work while living overseas, his father’s unsupportive attitude toward his endeavors to develop “money-multiplier” software, and his belief that his father tried to poison him in 2013.
He also told jurors he killed his father in self-defense after the father tried to strangle him with a belt. During the ensuing struggle, he said he tried to subdue his father by putting him in a sleeper hold and inadvertently took his life.
City News Service contributed to this report.
Get the RSF Review weekly in your inbox
Latest news from Rancho Santa Fe every Thursday for free
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Rancho Santa Fe Review.