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Crime News Family Crimes

Man Who Beat Elderly Dad To Death Over Monthly Allowance Found Guilty, Faces Life

Prosecutors said Leighton Dorey IV, 44, flew from France to San Diego, California and killed his 71-year-old father, Leighton Dorey III in 2017 over a perceived lack of financial support.

By Dorian Geiger
Judge Gavel G

A 44-year-old California man was convicted this week of beating his elderly father to death more than five years ago because he'd been cut off financially.

A San Diego County jury found Leighton Dorey IV guilty on all counts in the murder of his 71-year-old father Leighton Dorey III. He was originally charged with first-degree murder and an added special circumstance of torture, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com. He now faces a maximum punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.

“I’m just so happy that justice was done,” Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca said this week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. “This victim deserved justice, and he finally got it.”

On May 30, 2017, Leighton Dorey III was found bloodied and beaten at the bottom of a stairwell in his California home, according to NBC San Diego. San Diego homicide detectives described the incident as “one of the most brutal crime scenes they’ve ever come across.”

The proceedings were a retrial after a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting him three years ago, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

According to prosecutors, Leighton Dorey IV killed his father after becoming enraged that he'd cut off his finances.The younger Dorey previously lived in France for nearly half a decade preceding his father’s murder. While in Europe, he emailed his father, requesting a stipend of $1,000 per month. The younger Dorey threatened his father if he didn’t comply. Shortly before his father’s death, prosecutors say he returned to California “out of the blue” to confront Leighton Dorey III.

“’The relationship between the father and son was ‘fractious,’” prosecutor Paul Greenwood said in 2017, per NBC San Diego. 

During trial, Leighton Dorey IV, who represented himself, had maintained he acted in his self-defense after his father tried to strangle him. He described his father’s death as “horrific” and “repulsive,” but deflected blame from himself, insisting he had feared for his life during the violent altercation, the Times of San Diego reported

He claimed his father attempted to poison him in 2013. Approximately four years later, Dorey said his father attempted to choke him with a belt after he confronted him with his suspicions regarding the alleged poisoning. 

“Now you’re dead,” Leighton Dorey IV recalled his father telling him prior to attempting to strangle him.

Following the elderly California man’s death, Leighton Dorey IV first staged the crime scene to appear as if his father had killed himself. He later made it look as if his dad had died after accidentally crashing down a stairway at the property. He testified he then drove to a police station in Murrieta, California where he’d intended to turn himself into authorities, but left to have “one more day of freedom.”

“I couldn’t make myself do it,” Leighton Dorey IV testified, per the Times of San Diego.

Leighton Dorey IV is being held at a San Diego Central Jail ahead of his sentencing on June 29.

A spokesperson for the San Diego District Attorney’s Office wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Oxygen.com on Friday.

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