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Man sentenced to life without parole for killing his father in Rancho Santa Fe

A man who killed his 71-year-old father inside the victim’s Rancho Santa Fe home was sentenced Thursday 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 an allegation of torture under special circumstances, in the May 30, 2017 murder of Leighton Dorey III.

Prosecutors say after spending four years in France, the son showed up at his father’s home in La Brisa near Calle Dos Lagos and then killed him due to 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 fractured jaw and teeth.

The sentencing came during Dorey’s second murder trial. In his first trial in Vista Superior Court, the jury voted 11 to 1 in favor of his conviction. 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 he bent down to tie one of his shoelaces, his father shouted, “Now you’re dead!” threw his belt around the son’s neck and began to choke him.

Dorey claimed a struggle ensued and he attempted to subdue his father by putting him in a sleeping 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 like his father had been killed by an accidental fall down a flight of stairs in the house.

Dorey described his treatment of his father’s body as “horrific” and “disgusting”, but said he had no intention of killing him.

“I 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 abroad, his father’s unsupportive attitude towards his efforts to develop “money multiplier” software, and his belief that his father had tried to poison him in 2013.

After the murder, Dorey said, he went to a police station in Murrieta and was ready to surrender, but said “I couldn’t force myself to do it” and left to have “one day more freedom”.

Law enforcement found him a day later and arrested him in the mountain community of Idyllwild in Riverside County.

California Daily Newspapers

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