KILLER CASE FILES – VOLUME 4
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“My father was in no way empathetic or interested in trying to resolve whatever my concerns were.”
Leighton “LB” Dorey IV (during his trial)
By the time of his death in 2017, Leighton Dorey III had lived a fruitful and interesting life.
On October 12th, 1945, in Abington, Pennsylvania, Leighton B. Dorey III was born to parents Margaret and Leighton Dorey.
The family made their name and their wealth in the Pennsylvania textile industry, which Leighton also took an interest in and decided to carry forward by studying Textile Science at Philadelphia Textile College.
However, he also branched out into other industries and began working in real estate in his 20s. This soon developed into establishing his own real estate brokerage in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Leighton would go on to marry Carol Dorey and have two children, a daughter named Alyrene and a son also named Leighton B. “LB” Dorey IV who went by “LB” for short. LB was born in 1977 when his father was 31 years old.
In 1993, Leighton divorced his wife Carol and that same year met Kim, the woman who would later become his second wife and who was described as “the love of his life.” They married a year or two into their relationship at 48-year-old Kim’s home in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
Soon after the wedding, Leighton started another real estate business, this time in Ranch Santa Fe. He worked there until he turned 63 in 2008 when he retired. After that, he kept busy and active by working on their home as well as the properties he owned.
Just before noon on May 30th, 2017, Kimberley Dorey stumbled upon a nightmarish scene.
She was returning home from running some errands when she noticed her step-son LB’s new car in their drive. Kim knew that he was visiting so that wasn’t unusual. What was unusual, however, was that the 39-year-old was nowhere to be found and neither was his father.
Kim called out that she was home when she entered the house. She got no response.
She went back out to the car to help her aging dog out and walked the dog into the house via the front door. Again, she called out but to no response. However, when she went back outside to lock her car, LB’s car was gone. She began phoning her husband to check if he and LB had left the house while she had been busy with the dog.
She got no answer to the numerous phone calls and the voicemails she left and that’s when she began to worry.
Kim decided to search the house for something that would give her a clue as to where her husband was and she would later describe the adrenaline she felt as she realized that the first sign she saw was blood.
After searching the downstairs apartment of the large house, she looked in another guest bedroom near her office. In the hallway was 71-year-old Leighton Brody, lying incapacitated on the floor.
“I thought he had been shot.” Kim later said. That was because his face was so badly beaten that she could barely recognize her own husband. He was covered in blood and there were teeth fragments around his body.
Kim immediately called 911.
Paramedics and police were dispatched, with the medics inspecting Leighton first in case there was any chance of treating him. When they approached him, they initially thought that he had been shot due to the amount of blood and the damage to his body. However, Leighton was soon pronounced dead and the police took over the crime scene.
They were able to determine he hadn’t been shot due to the obvious lack of bullet wounds, but the actual cause of death was harder to determine due to the state of his body. Eventually, they found that it was blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and torso that had killed Leighton but that he’d also been strangled.
At his autopsy the full extent of Leighton’s injuries were revealed. They included fractures to his ribs, neck and spine, a broken nose and jaw, several missing teeth, and torn skin on his hands. These injuries were so extensive that his body was described as being “tortured.”
But who committed this heinous crime against an elderly man?
Investigation & Arrest
At the scene, there was blood everywhere. Footprints at the scene seemed to show that the perpetrator was wearing socks without shoes. The blood evidence also showed that Leighton had attempted to escape, making it up three steps before being pulled back down. There was also no evidence of forced entry.
It soon became evident that there was only one person that stood out to police: Leighton’s son, LB.
As the person who found Leighton’s body, police first spoke to Kimberley. She told them that she had called her husband while she was out running errands, less than 15 minutes before she had returned home. In that phone call, he told her that LB was visiting the home.
She also said that Leighton and LB’s relationship was strained and most of their contact was LB asking his father for money. For years, she had feared for herself and her husband due to threats that LB had made. She even said that she’d heard in phone calls and read in emails threats from LB to Leighton, and even suggestions that Leighton should kill her.
In fact, LB had first appeared that weekend on May 26th, 2017. She and Leighton were both shocked when LB turned up on their driveway in a brand new Jeep, bought for him by his mother. According to Kim, she and her husband were under the impression that LB was still in France and had no intention of leaving as he’d been touring the continent for four years.
He told her that he would be staying for a few days saying that he was going to LA to look for a job and would be living in his car as he couldn’t afford a hotel in the area.
Investigators also discovered that in 2013, Leighton stopped financially supporting LB. The father had been supporting LB for years, paying thousands for healthcare, dental treatment, and college. LB’s mother also sent him money and bought him expensive things, as evidenced by the new Jeep.
His son was apparently enraged by Leighton’s refusal to support him, especially when the older man refused to invest in what LB described as some “money-multiplying software” that he was creating.
LB appeared to drop the topic, moving to France and allegedly asking Leighton for thousands of dollars in allowance a year. It would seem that he simply didn’t want to accept his father’s rejection, as he referred to it in an email as Leighton’s “fatherly duties.”
In May 2017, he abruptly flew back to San Diego from Europe. His mother paid for his ticket and bought the Jeep. That’s when he showed up to visit his father.
With the witnesses and physical evidence adding up, investigators felt that LB was the person responsible for Leighton’s brutal murder.
Police used mobile tracking and were able to locate LB at the Riverside County town of Idyllwild, where Leighton had owned property. He was subsequently arrested on May 31st, 2017. Due to him being a flight risk, he was denied bail.
Leighton “LB” Dorey IV pleaded not guilty to a count of murder and a special allegation of torture.
At a preliminary hearing in 2018, Kim would take the stand for two hours. She told of how she had been concerned for LB’s mental health and his violence. She even said that she suspected he had paranoid schizophrenia and that he told his father he believed a dentist had implanted a device in his tooth.
At his trial, which began in August 2019, the prosecution maintained the investigators’ belief that LB killed his father over his refusal to continue helping him financially.
They said he had planned to kill Leighton from the moment he arrived and had plenty of time to stop when he was slamming his father’s head against the stairs again and again. “He didn’t stop,” said the prosecution. “He punched him again. He saw the blood, he saw the teeth and he didn’t stop.”
LB’s attorneys, on the other hand, argued that he killed his father in self defense. LB’s testimony claimed that Leighton had a history of physically abusing LB as a child. The defense also told the court that the victim had anger issues.
On the day of the murder, LB said that he went to his father’s house to repair their relationship. Instead though, at some point LB allegedly knelt down to tie his shoe and his father came up behind him and attempted to strangle him with a belt. LB claimed that he put his father in a sleeper-hold which killed him. In a panic, he decided to stage the crime scene to make it look like his father had fallen down the stairs.
As for the apparent financial motive, the defense claimed that LB was quite financially stable – mainly thanks to his mother who funded his lifestyle in Europe.
At the end of the trial in September 2019, the judge would declare a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision. The decision was split 11-1 in favor of convicting him of murder.
Three years later, a retrial took place and this time 44-year-old Leighton “LB” Dorey IV was found guilty of first-degree murder in May 2022. He faces life in prison without parole.