VISTA, Calif. — A jury was unable to reach a verdict Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge for a man accused of beating, strangling and torturing his 71-year-old father in the victim’s Rancho Santa Fe home.
Leighton Dorey IV, 42, is charged with murder and a special circumstance allegation of torture in the May 30, 2017, death of Leighton Dorey III.
Jurors deliberated for about three days before declaring that they were hopelessly deadlocked, leading San Diego Superior Court Judge Carlos Armour to declare a mistrial. Another hearing is set for Sept. 26 to see how the case will proceed.
Prosecutors allege that after spending the prior four years living overseas, the younger Dorey abruptly showed up at his father’s home that May, then killed him because of a lack of financial support.
Dorey’s stepmother returned home on May 30 to find her husband’s “bloody, brutally beaten, strangled and tortured body,” Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca said in her opening statement.
His numerous injuries included fractures to his spine, neck and ribs, as well as a broken nose, broken jaw, skin torn from his hands and many of his teeth strewn about his body from the force of the beating.
The prosecutor said investigators tracked the defendant’s cell phone to the Riverside County mountain community of Idyllwild, where his father also owned property. He was arrested there one day after his father’s death.
The elder Dorey’s blood was found inside the defendant’s Jeep, as well as on the insides of his pants, including inside one of his pockets, the prosecutor said.
Both the prosecution and Dorey’s attorney, Wilfrid Rumble, said Dorey was a man who pursued his passions, which included skiing, mountain biking and computers.
Lavermicocca alleged that Dorey sought his father’s assistance in continuing to fund these pursuits, while Rumble alleged the prosecution’s theory of a financially motivated killing made no sense.
According to Rumble, Dorey was fairly stable financially, particularly due to money he was regularly receiving from his mother, the victim’s ex- wife. Rumble said she paid her son’s rent, gave him around $1,200 a month in spending money and upon his return to America, purchased the Jeep that he was driving in May 2017.
Rumble called Dorey a man who “embraces his dreams,” and said it would not make sense that he “would throw that all away, the rest of his life, by perpetrating this senseless murder and torture.”