“I was working in my vegetable garden.” Kim Dorey remembered the day she got an unexpected visitor, almost a year earlier. It was a Friday morning, May 26, 2017, overcast and cool, perfect for working outside her beautiful home on La Brisa Road in Rancho Santa Fe.
Kimberley was surprised to see her husband’s adult son. “As far as we knew, as far as I knew, he was out of the country, living in France. And he showed up.” It was Kim’s dog Brandy, an old German Shepherd, that first noticed him. “I could see him walking around the walkway, from the driveway, on the pathway towards the front door.” Kim put down her garden tools and went to him.
“He said hi and I said hi, and he said ‘Is that still Brandy?’ pointing to the dog, and I said yes.”
Kim’s 39-year-old stepson had the same name as his father, Leighton Bromiley Dorey. The 71-year-old dad was the third, and his son was the fourth. Kim called her husband Leighton, and everyone called his son LB.
She noticed the shiny new Jeep in the driveway. “I asked about the car, and he said, ‘Yeah, his mom got it for him, she got it for a good price, he just picked it up.” It was a black Jeep Renegade.
LB had been living in Europe the last four years. Seven weeks prior, he had posted a video on his Facebook page, featuring himself on a snowy mountain in France, on a ski adventure.
“He said he would be here a few days, he couldn’t afford to stay in the hotel he was staying in in San Diego, and he would be staying in his car the next few days.”
Kim heard this 39-year-old man saying he would be living out of his car for days, but she did not make much of it. “Yeah, he was headed up, in a few days, to LA to look for a job.”
LB did make an appointment for a job interview for the following Tuesday, but he never made it to that appointment.
“And I said do you want to see your dad and he said, yes, and I said he is in the house he will be glad to see you, let’s go see him.” They walked through the courtyard to the front door.
Kim went into a hallway that led to Leighton’s office and she looked up toward the second floor, “I hollered, ‘Hey Leighton, LB is here.’ And he said, ‘I will be right down.’”
Kimberley went back outside to bring in her harvested vegetables, she took the dog with her.
Kim saw the two men come outside and walk up a pathway to the pergola; it was a high spot on the property where they could sit and visit. Kim went in the house and washed her fresh veggies and stored them and then came back outside. She could see the men talking. “I knew my husband was very excited to see his son.” She walked up and joined them. “I sat in a third chair to enjoy the conversation.”
After a while LB said he needed to go, “And my husband said make sure we have your phone number,” to get together for lunch or whatever. LB said he would text the phone number. And he got up and left to go to his car.”
Because her husband was not accustomed to smart phones, Kim showed him how to send the first text so he could easily receive a return text. And Leighton confirmed that he did get a text with a phone number from his son.
As his son was getting into his car, his dad yelled to him, “I love you, LB !”
La Brisa means The Breeze
Kimberley Anne Dorey has lived in her home on La Brisa road for many years. She still lives there. Even after everything. Now she lives with “My cat and my dog.” The dog is not the same one she had in May of 2017. Her husband isn’t there anymore either.
A year later in court, Kim remembered the everyday routines her husband and she shared. “Daily, he had to put some time in managing apartments he owns in Pennsylvania, that would occupy a couple hours every day. He did that first, in the morning. He also emailed with friends.”
Leighton was fit for his age, 71, he was proud of that. At 5 feet 7 inches tall and 152 pounds, he felt good. But he did not go to the gym, “He said the yard was his gym.” Kim happily recalled, “Most of his time he would spend in his garden.”
Leighton did show a few small signs of his age. He was just a little bent in stature. And there was his hearing, “Yes, he wore hearing aids in both ears.”
Kim and Leighton
Kim said she met her future husband Leighton when he was 48 and his son LB was 16 years old, that was in 1993. That was the same year that Leighton divorced his first wife, Carol. Leighton and Carol Dorey had raised their two children on the East Coast. Ex-wife Carol still lives in Pennsylvania.
Kimberley also raised two children, she has two adult daughters from her previous marriage. Plus two granddaughters.
Kim said that she and Leighton Dorey began their relationship in 1997 and they married two years later, in 1999. They were married in Kim’s nice home in Rancho Santa Fe.
Leighton was attractive and easy to love. He was an accomplished gymnast in his lifetime and he kept a nice physique. Kim was so enamored of her second husband, even after 18 years of marriage, she gushed about him like a young girl. She remembered his “thoughtfulness, playfulness, sense of humor, child-like enthusiasm and love for all manner of desserts.”
Leighton Bromiley Dorey III was born in 1945. He went to the Staunton Military Academy in Virginia and served in the Coast Guard. His family made their wealth in the textile industry in Philadelphia, and that was his first work. While he was in his 20s he started working in real estate. He established his own real estate brokerage in Bucks County, Pennsylvania — an area of quality estates and stately old homes.
In 1998, Leighton started another real estate business, this one in Rancho Santa Fe. He worked in his own office for ten years, until 2008, the year he turned 63. At that time he retired to concentrate on rebuilding their home on La Brisa road — because it had burned down in the Witch Creek fire of 2007.
Kim always had her own assets. One major asset was her home, located where the median price of properties is more than 3.6 million dollars. Bill Gates reportedly bought his daughter a horse property in that area.
Kim has another nice property, “I own a cabin in Idyllwild. My parents bought it when I was 6, in the 50s, and I inherited it.” From her home in Rancho Santa Fe the Idyllwild cabin is about a two-hour drive north, 90 miles into the San Jacinto Mountains. The air is clean, with pine forests all around. Kim has fond memories of her days there. “Leighton loved it.”
And her husband’s son LB had lived in the town of Idyllwild for a time. “I am sure he knew the cabin, we had him over there,” Kim recalled later.
Asking Dad for money
Kim said their adult children never lived at the Rancho Santa Fe home with them, but sometimes they came to visit, and stayed for a while. There was an apartment downstairs where LB had stayed a few days when he had visited. But that was more than ten years ago, before their home burned down in 2007; son LB had not stayed in the home since they rebuilt.
And they got mail for LB. “Yes, he used our mailing address.” They had received his mail for years, “for a long time.” After all, it is a prestigious address. And LB did have the same name as his father.
Kim said she kept all the finances. “We shared expenses, house stuff, but not expenses for the kids.” The exception was that Kim and Leighton might share the cost of taking their kids out to dinner, while they were visiting, but that was about it.
Over the years, LB communicated with his father by email and phone. “A majority of the exchanges were LB asking his dad for money,” Kim revealed. Sometimes, after communicating with his son, Kim said that Leighton would become tense and withdrawn.
Most recently, in the last few months, LB had asked his father for a monthly stipend. This while LB was still living in France. According to Kim, Leighton did not want to send money to his son. However, he did not decline all financial support. For example, he paid $20,000 for his son’s dental care.
And Leighton had offered to help his son financially with rehab, for drugs.
Kim said that in his last phone call, LB asked his dad if he would pick him up at the airport and rent him a car; his dad had replied that he would pick him up but not rent him a car.
And there was a time when LB wanted to go to college, to start his college education, and his father did contribute to that. As Kim remembered it, LB wanted to go to Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, 32 miles east of Los Angeles.
Leighton the Fourth
Leighton Bromiley Dorey IV, known to his family and friends as LB, was born in 1977, when his father was 31 years old. By that time, his father had his own real estate brokerage in Pennsylvania. When his parents divorced in 1993, his mother Carol Dorey took over that successful business. Carol Dorey still lives on the East Coast, in an historic stone farmhouse on 110 acres. She tells people that it takes her three minutes to drive the length of her driveway, to get to the main road, and then two more minutes to get to her own office. She is 76 years old.
LB went to Saucon Valley High School. He graduated from high school in 1996. According to published reports, LB last lived in that area in 2005, when he was 28.
Four days after LB made his unexpected visit to the home on La Brisa road, the following Tuesday began as just another day. Although the sun broke the horizon at 5:41 a.m., it did not get up before Kim and Leighton. First thing in the morning, Leighton was at work, “He had to deal with something about the apartments,” Kim recalled. Then, as they always did, the couple had their coffee together and planned their day.
The first chore they did together was put a cloth barrier around the fruit trees, to protect the crop from birds. “He loved the gardening, he loved the projects.”
Then Kim needed to get the dog Brandy into her car, she had a veterinarian appointment in Encinitas. The big, old German Sheppard had hip displacia and it was a struggle, so Leighton stepped in.“He knew I had an appointment to take the dog to the vet at 9 am,” Kim remembered. “He helped me get the dog in the car, Brandy couldn’t walk too well.”
It was another gray morning and the clouds never did clear off that day. This was better for the dog in the car, anyway.
Leighton cooked himself some breakfast. Before she left, Kim hugged him and asked, “Have you heard from LB about lunch?”
“He said, ‘As soon as you’re gone I’m gonna call him and see if he’s available for lunch.’” She told her husband she was available today at noon or tomorrow at 5, for a get-together.
It was more than two hours later, a little before 11 am, Kim “called Leighton when I left the vet cause the appointment went so long, so much longer than expected.” She called just to tell him, “I’m leaving the vet now and I should be home in about 20 minutes.”
“He said, ‘LB’s here.’”
“And so I knew how excited he would be to see LB, so I said, ‘Oh, don’t let me keep you, and enjoy yourselves.’” Her call lasted maybe 20 seconds.
She hurried home and “I saw LB’s car here.” It was the same new, black Jeep she saw four days earlier. It was parked to the right in the driveway.
“I looked up immediately to see if they were in the pergola area, but they were not there.”
She noticed the garage doors were closed. “When I had left, all 3 garage doors were open.” It was her husband’s habit to open all the garage doors every morning, to air out the garage. She thought, “Hmmm, that’s unusual.”
It took some little time to gather things in her car, the paperwork from the vet and her purse and such. She carried one armful inside, put the clutter on the counter and yelled out, “I’m home!” The house was quiet. “I got no response, I assumed they were on the property somewhere talking.”
“So I went back out, to get Brandy.” Again, she noticed LB’s car. Kim went through her careful routine for getting the dog in and out of the car. “Brandy did not like to walk on the slick epoxied garage floor.” The dog prefered the rough stone surface of the driveway and walkway. Kim slowly helped Brandy to the front door and got her settled in the kitchen, where a bed was set up for her. “I hollered, Leighton, I’m home!”
Kim went back to her car in the driveway, because she had left the hatchback open. That was when she saw that the black Jeep was gone.
She wondered if Leighton and LB had left together, while she was fussing with the dog.
“So I called Leighton to say, ‘If you have gone to lunch, let me know where you are and I’ll meet you.’” She left a message. She phoned her husband several times, but he never picked up.
Kim went around the house looking for her husband.“I ran upstairs to the master bedroom, to see if something happened. I came back downstairs and thought I would go look at another sitting area near the vegetable garden.” She went outside. She saw no one. She returned to the house and checked the downstairs guest apartment. She said that as she looked, her panic began to rise. “I’m now shaking.” She searched for maybe ten minutes. “I mean, I was racing around. I mean, the adrenaline was going.” And the realization came upon her that she was looking for blood.
A history of violence
“I was afraid for both of us.” Kim stated in court. “I have a history of being afraid of what LB would do to his father.” And to her.
“Both in phone calls I overheard and in emails sent to Leighton, that I was copied or asked to read, at one point he suggested I should kill Leighton or Leighton should kill me. He threatened Leighton’s life, his safety. I knew he had a history of violence during his lifetime, when he lived in Los Angeles.”
That frantic Tuesday morning, after she searched the downstairs apartment, she went to look in a different part of the house, where a guest bedroom and bathroom were located, it was near her office. “And by now I was shaking crazy. And I walked on the carpet, in a little hallway.”
And she found him. “I saw my husband’s body.” He was still wearing the work shirt he had on when he did yard work that morning. “I saw him lying on his back.” She could not recognize his face.“I thought he had been shot.” Kim said they did not have any guns in their home.
“And Brandy wanted to lick him.” She was horrified and yelled at her dog,“Brandy get out of here!” Kim grabbed the dog by its collar and dragged her away.
A year later
Kim testified for two hours at a criminal hearing almost a year later, in April 2018. She confirmed to a defense attorney that she had long suspected that LB had mental problems. “I tried to tell Leighton that that was my fear. That LB was a paranoid schizophrenic. And that Leighton should look into it more.”
She said that in email messages to his father and other family members, LB claimed that a dentist had planted something in his tooth — a device. And in another message, LB claimed that Kim and his dad had tried to poison him, “One of my daughters told me that,” Kim testified. She said that neither she nor her husband had ever put anything in LB’s food, “Absolutely not!”
Kim said that in another email LB declared that his dad wanted him dead, that Leighton wanted him disowned or dead, and written out of his will.
Kim said it was her belief that LB’s mother Carol had arranged for him to see a mental health professional in Los Angeles, some years ago. Kim understood that LB claimed to hear sounds and voices at night, as if from an apartment around him, he complained that noises made it difficult for him to sleep.
After Kim called 911 that horrible Tuesday, a fugitive task force was organized by San Diego County Sheriff’s detective Darren Perata.
Detective Perata was able to get cell phone information from the suspect’s mother in Pennsylvania. Carol told officers she had arranged a lawyer for her son and that LB would be giving himself up to police in Murrieta. The detective was able to confirm that LB’s cell phone was indeed pinging in the parking lot of a Murrieta police station. But that phone went offline, and by the time San Diego County officers got to the location, they did not find LB nor his Jeep nor his phone.
And then detective Perata got a single ping from that phone “out in the middle of nowhere.” On a hunch he got the address of Kimberley’s cabin in Idyllwild. “So we gave that a shot,” the detective said later.
It was dark, about 8 o’clock that night, when the fugitive task force arrived in the mountains. They found the black Jeep parked between two homes. They could see inside; there was a lot of clothing, a suitcase, and other things that made investigators believe their suspect was living in his car.
Officers kept surveillance on that car. The next morning about 7 am their suspect appeared, he was walking along the road, and came up behind his watchers. LB was wearing many layers of clothing and a huge backpack — it went above his head and had dual straps, one around his head and one strap around his hips. Officers watched LB approach his Jeep, hesitate, walk away and then return. Then officers swooped in. While they were putting waist chains and handcuffs on him, LB asked them to be careful because his right hand was broken.
LB was arrested in Riverside County on May 31, 2017. He has been in custody since then on a no-bail hold. LB is described in Sheriff’s records as 6 feet tall and 180 pounds. He is now 40.
Investigators collected LB’s shoes, they believed they could see blood stains on them. However, a year later in court, the lead detective stated that test results “were not back yet.”
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy Christie Ramirez is the lead detective investigating the death Leighton Dorey.
Bloody footprints all around the body were photographed.
There was blood inside the Jeep. The blood on the steering wheel had DNA from both Leighton and LB. The seat adjustment lever of the front passenger seat had Leighton’s blood on it.
The belt had been completely removed from the deceased’s pants, and part of a broken belt buckle was on the floor near a wall. There was a lot of blood spatter evidence.
There were loose teeth scattered all around the victim, which had been broken out of his face.
Investigators said they found one hearing aid on the floor, near a wall; part of the other hearing aid was found underneath the body, on the tile floor. A cell phone was also found under the body.
Deputy medical examiner Dr. Jacquelyn Morhaime testified for more than two hours at a hearing in April 2018. She said she went to the scene to observe the body in location on May 30, 2017, and then did the autopsy the next day.
The doctor said that at the scene she noticed blood patterns on a staircase near the body. She wondered at that time if the man’s face had been struck against the stairs “multiple times.” She did not notice any injuries to the back of the deceased man’s head.
“He had injuries on all parts of his body. But most of the injuries seemed to be concentrated on the head and neck region.” The doctor found bruises on both ears.
Prosecutor Patricia Lavermicocca spent hours going over every injury with the doctor, the prosecutor had evidence photos to illustrate every awful hurt. There were photos of bruises on the back of the man’s left hand; these bruises were in a pattern and looked suspiciously in the shape of a boot heel.
There were so many fractures and broken bones in the man’s torso, Lavermicocca asked the doctor if “stomping” could have caused those injuries? “I think that would be possible,” the doctor answered.
The prosecutor asked if the Leighton might have been strangled with his own belt. The doctor replied, “It could be possible.”
Dr. Morhaime declared the cause of death to be strangulation and blunt force injuries to the head, neck, and torso. “Ultimately I think that all of his injuries contributed to his death.”
The defense attorney asked detailed questions about how long it might take a person to die of strangulation; and how soon a person could become unconscious and therefore not be able to feel pain any longer. Doctor Morhaime agreed, “Yes, less than a minute, can be unresponsive that quickly, yes. He could have been dead very quickly, less than a minute.” And she confirmed the blunt force injuries could have continued after the man became unconscious.
But the doctor would not declare a particular time, “I cannot say with certainty how long it took this man to die.”
LB watched calmly for two days, as the presentation of evidence against him went on and on. He never looked away during his preliminary hearing. There were many shocking, bloody photos of his father shown on a large screen in the courtroom. As the hours went on, LB sometimes rested his chin on his folded hand, looking contemplative.
Lavermiccoca charged LB with the special circumstance of torture and murder, which makes his case eligible for the death penalty, or life in prison without parole.
“The defendant wanted financial support from his father that his father was not willing to give to him,” prosecutor Lavermicocca argued to a judge. “He was living in his car. A lot of the conversations between victim and son were about money, about him not wanting to get a job.”
Judge David Danielsen ordered LB to face trial for murder with the special allegation of torture. A trial date has been set for late September of 2018, in the North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.