Man sentenced to life without parole for killing father in Rancho Santa Fe
Prosecutors said that after spending four years living in France, the son showed up at his father’s home on La Brisa near Calle Dos Lagos, then killed him because of a perceived lack of financial support
A man who killed his 71-year-old father inside the victim’s Rancho Santa Fe home was sentenced Thursday, May 25, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A San Diego jury found Leighton Dorey IV, 45, guilty last year of first-degree murder, plus a special-circumstance allegation of torture, in the May 30, 2017, killing of Leighton Dorey III.
Prosecutors said that after spending four years living in France, the son showed up at his father’s home on La Brisa near Calle Dos Lagos, then killed him because of a perceived lack of financial support.
The elder Dorey was beaten and strangled, according to the prosecution. His injuries included fractures to his spine, neck and ribs, as well as a broken nose and broken jaw and teeth.
The conviction came during Dorey’s second murder trial. In his first trial in Vista Superior Court, the jury voted 11-1 in favor of convicting him. Dorey represented himself in the second trial at the downtown San Diego courthouse.
Dorey testified on his own behalf and told jurors he killed his father in self-defense after the father tried to strangle him with a belt. Dorey testified that after bending down to tie one of his shoelaces, his father screamed, “Now you’re dead!” threw his belt around the son’s neck and began choking him.
Dorey claimed that a struggle ensued and he tried to subdue his father by putting him in a sleeper hold. It was during the struggle that he killed his father.
He told jurors he was in a state of panic and attempted to stage the scene to look like a suicide. When those efforts failed, he said, he tried to make it look as though his father had been killed by an accidental fall down a stairway at the home.
Dorey described his treatment of his father’s body as “horrific” and “repulsive,” but said he did not intend to kill him.
“I do think what I did was wrong,” he testified. “But it’s not murder.”
Dorey also detailed his financial troubles, his problems 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.
After the killing, Dorey said, he drove to a police station in Murrieta and was prepared to turn himself in, but said, “I couldn’t make myself do it” and left to have “one more day of freedom.”
Law enforcement tracked him down one day later and arrested him in the mountain community of Idyllwild in Riverside County.
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