Kathleen Dorsett, Parents
Sentenced For Murder Of Her Ex-husband
By David Porter - HuffingtonPost.com
August 8, 2013
FREEHOLD, N.J. — A former elementary school
teacher and mother is a manipulative narcissist who convinced her
own father to murder her ex-husband, a judge said Thursday in
sentencing the New Jersey woman and both her parents to prison in
what he called "an American family tragedy."
In a proceeding replete with gruesome pictures
of Stephen Moore's body and sometimes rambling statements from the
three defendants, Kathleen Dorsett and her parents were sentenced
to a combined 110 years in prison for Moore's 2010 death.
She and parents Thomas and Lesley Dorsett had
previously pleaded guilty to charges in Moore's death, and she and
her mother also entered guilty pleas to conspiring to murder
Moore's mother to keep her from testifying against them and to
stop her from gaining custody of Kathleen Dorsett's daughter.
The plot grew out of the couple's failed
marriage and an acrimonious divorce that led to a custody battle
over their 20-month-old daughter Elizabeth, prosecutors say.
When Stephen Moore returned their daughter to
her mother's house Aug. 16, 2010, authorities say, Kathleen
Dorsett lured him to the back of the residence where her father
leaped from behind bushes and smashed his head with a heavy metal
object. He then choked Moore with a rope before dumping his body
in the trunk of Moore's mother's car, prosecutors say.
Kathleen Dorsett was sentenced to a total of 58
years for convictions on charges of murder, disturbing human
remains and attempted murder. Lesley Dorsett received a seven-year
sentence for a conspiracy conviction; authorities say she paid
$1,000 to a police informant to kill Evlyn Moore.
Thomas Dorsett was sentenced to 45 years,
including 15 years for his arson-for-hire conviction. Prosecutors
say Dorsett paid a man to burn Evlyn Moore's car with her dead son
in the trunk but ended up doing it himself.
Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Marc
LeMieux displayed pictures of Moore's charred body inside the
car's trunk that drew gasps from the packed gallery. He also read
a statement from Evlyn Moore in which she called the Dorsetts
"cold-blooded killers" to whom she "has nothing to say." She wrote
that Elizabeth, now 4, is a happy child but will never know her
father and mother.
"How does she tell her friends? When she falls
in love, how does she tell her future partner?" Moore wrote.
Outside court, she said she was pleased with
the sentences, saying, "It couldn't have gone any better."
During the proceeding, Kathleen Dorsett
directed a brief statement to state Superior Court Judge Anthony
Mellaci Jr. and to the cameras in the courtroom.
"I'm so deeply sorry for all the pain I've
caused to Stephen's family and all the lives I've destroyed," she
Though she denied the plot was over custody,
Mellaci said "that's exactly what this was over – control."
"This is a narcissistic individual. Her
crocodile tears get turned on and off seemingly at will," the
judge said. "This is really an American family tragedy on so many
levels, and the responsibility for it falls mainly on this
Thomas Dorsett, who ran a refrigeration
business, gave a nearly 30-minute statement in which his voice
"I don't have the words to say how sorry I am,"
he said. "Maybe that's not even the right word. I know I lost my
mind that day, and now I've lost my Elizabeth."
LeMieux poked holes in Dorsett's description of
himself as a kind and caring man, pointing out that investigators
interviewed co-workers and friends who said he referred to Moore
as "the monkey" and vowed to kill him.
Dorsett family members
sentenced in Ocean Township murder
By Ashley Peskoe/NJ.com
August 08, 2013
A woman and her father who
conspired to brutally murder her ex-husband during a custody
battle over a 1-year-old child was sentenced in Monmouth County
Superior Court on Thursday.
Kathleen Dorsett, 38, and her
father, Thomas Dorsett, 66, admitted to killing Stephen Moore in
the backyard of her Ocean Township house on Aug. 16, 2010 and then
loaded the body in a car and set it ablaze in Long Branch. While
in jail, Kathleen Dorsett and her mother, Lesley Dorsett, 68,
planned a murder for hire plot to kill Stephen Moore’s mother,
As part of a plea agreement,
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci, Jr.
sentenced Kathleen Dorsett to 30 years in prison on a murder
charge, 20 years in prison on an attempted murder charge and eight
years in prison on a conspiracy to disturb human remains charge,
all to run consecutively. Thomas Dorsett was sentenced to 30 years
in prison on a murder charge and 15 years on the arson for hire
charge, to run consecutively.
Lesley Dorsett was also
sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiracy to commit
murder, a year less than the plea deal due to her age and heath,
Thomas Dorsett cried while
addressing the court, occasionally wiping tears away with a piece
of paper. While being sentenced he looked at the judge with his
hands crossed. Lesley Dorsett was sentenced next in a separate
proceeding, and cried as she addressed Evelyn Moore. Kathleen
Dorsett was sentenced last in a third proceeding, crying while
addressing the court, but otherwise looked at the judge or around
the courtroom during the proceedings.
During the sentencing
proceedings, Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Director of
Investigations Marc Lemieux recounted how the murder of Stephen
Moore happened, as well as the murder for hire plot of his mother,
On Aug. 16, 2010, Kathleen
Dorsett’s ex-husband Stephen Moore dropped off their 1-year-old
daughter Elizabeth at her Ocean Township home, Lemieux said, and
sent him to the back of the house to pick up tools. She knew her
father was waiting for him.
Lemieux said Moore walked “the
last 68 feet of his life” before Thomas Dorsett hit him between
the eyes and over the head with a metal crowbar-type object and
then strangled him with a rope, Lemieux said.
As Kathleen Dorsett heard the
screams, she assured a neighbor nothing wrong and blocked the
neighbors view with her body and told her to shut the window,
The father-daughter duo then
loaded Moore’s dead body into the truck of a car, which was set on
fire in Long Branch, Lemieux said.
Lemieux also showed surveillance
video in court of Thomas Dorsett disposing of items he and
Kathleen Dorsett used to clean up after the murder.
Kathleen Dorsett pleaded guilty
to murder on May 9, conspiracy to desecrate human remains and
attempted murder. Thomas Dorsett also pleaded guilty to murder and
arson for hire.
Lesley Dorsett and her daughter
also tried to hire a hit man to kill Moore’s mother, Evelyn Moore.
Kathleen Dorsett told her mother to bring $1,000 down payment to a
man she believed was the cousin of a women she met in jail, who
was actually an undercover police officer.
Lesley Dorsett previously
pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit murder.
During Kathleen Dorsett’s
sentencing, the judge called the case an “American family tragedy”
and said the murder was about control and manipulation over her
daughter. Mellaci also said a presentence interview showed signs
of a “narcissistic individual.”
“[Kathleen Dorsett] states that
she’s sorry and she never meant for any of this to happen. I don’t
believe that,” Mellaci said during the sentencing. “It’s not been
less than two or three times I have seen her in my courtroom,
including today, where the crocodile tears get turned on and off
almost on cue. As Mr. Lemieux was speaking and saying certain
things you’re looking at me shaking your head mouthing ‘that’s not
true’ as if trying to manipulate this court.”
Mellaci also said Kathleeen
Dorsett is the cause of the murder.
“Mr. Dorsett may have swung the
murder weapon, but through her manipulation, Kathleen put the idea
and the weapon in his hands,” Mellaci said.
Outside the courtroom, Evelyn
Moore praised the prosecutor’s office.
“Knowing this amazing team from
the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has gotten me through,”
Moore said. “I love them all, I don’t know what I would have done
with out them, I will never forget them.”
The Dorsett’s now 4-year-old
child is in Moore’s custody.
Ocean Township woman, parents
admit roles in ex's slaying
By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger
May 09, 2013
As her father was making good on
their plan to kill her ex-husband that August afternoon, Kathleen
Dorsett could hear the man’s screams coming from the backyard of
the Ocean Township house.
She immediately ran outside and
used her body to block the view of a neighbor who was asking what
was happening. Dorsett assured the woman everything was fine and
told her to close her window.
With her ex-husband lying dead
in the yard, Dorsett then helped her father put the body in the
trunk of a car that would later be set ablaze several miles away.
The bizarre murder plot was
spelled out in graphic detail in Superior Court in Freehold today,
where Dorsett and her parents, fueled by hatred for a man they
considered an unfit father, admitted killing Stephen Moore on Aug.
16, 2010, and plotting a hit on his mother. Moore’s body was found
two days after he was killed — in the trunk of his mother’s
burning 2001 Nissan Altima in Long Branch.
Dorsett and her parents, Thomas
and Lesley, are now facing long prison terms.
"The absolute intention behind
this plea was to make sure that both Kathleen and Thomas would no
longer be on the street," Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor
Marc LeMieux said. "We feel that we’ve accomplished that."
Facing 50 years in prison when
he is sentenced Aug. 8, Thomas Dorsett pleaded guilty to murder
and arson for hire. Kathleen Dorsett, 38, pleaded guilty to
murder, conspiracy to disturb human remains and attempted murder
and faces 58 years in prison. Lesley Dorsett, 68, who pleaded
guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, faces eight years in
Discussing anger toward the
42-year-old Moore that grew over time, Thomas Dorsett told
Superior Court Judge Anthony Mellaci Jr. that he tried to have
drugs planted on his former son-in-law. When that failed, he said,
he began plotting with his daughter to kill Moore.
he scheme later grew to include
Lesley Dorsett, who said today she agreed with her daughter’s
jailhouse plans to deliver cash and a photograph of Moore’s
mother, Evlyn, to a hitman when it appeared she could help put
Kathleen behind bars for a long time.
Sitting in the front row, Evyln
Moore listened intently to today’s proceedings.
In separate proceedings, the
Dorsetts were led, shackled, into the courtroom. They sat in the
jury box and kept their backs to the crowded gallery, even
refusing to turn around when the prosecutor asked them questions.
Kathleen and her father said
they agreed he would kill Moore when he arrived at her house to
drop off their 20-month-old daughter. Luring him into their trap,
Kathleen Dorsett said she told Moore she wanted him to retrieve
some tools from the basement. But to get to the basement from the
house, Moore had to go into the backyard, where Thomas Dorsett was
Thomas Dorsett said he
instigated an argument with Moore and as the two fought, he picked
up a metal cable and hit Moore, who fell backward and struck his
head, Dorsett said.
"It was your purpose and your
intention to kill him, correct?" his lawyer, Steven Nelson, asked.
"Yes," Thomas Dorsett replied in
a low voice.
Kathleen Dorsett, a third-grade
teacher, said she knew her father was in the backyard laying in
wait for Moore.
"I took my daughter into my
house, knowing all the time that my father was back there waiting
to kill him," she said.
After Moore was killed, she
said, she helped helped her father put the body into the trunk of
Evlyn Moore’s car before Thomas Dorsett drove it to Long Branch.
Thomas Dorsett said he paid an acquaintance, Anthony Morris,
$3,000 to set the car on fire.
As head of an intensely close
family, Thomas Dorsett called his granddaughter "my life." He said
Kathleen often complained her husband wasn’t a good father and
that she thought he was incapable of taking care of their
Married in 2007, Kathleen and
Stephen separated two years later when he moved in with his ailing
mother in Manchester.
During their divorce, the couple
fought about the baby’s care, custody and parenting time. Moore
wasn’t permitted overnight visits with his daughter initially, but
was granted visits as part of the June 2010 divorce. The girl is
living with Evlyn Moore.
When Thomas and Lesley Dorsett
wanted to move to Florida with Kathleen and their granddaughter in
2010, part of Moore’s divorce agreement required Thomas Dorsett to
help Moore move there as well and provide him financial assistance
for six months.
Thomas Dorsett acknowledged that
"In fact, you wanted him out of
your life and your family’s life, correct?" his attorney asked.
"Yes," Dorsett replied.
Kathleen Dorsett admitted she
enlisted the help of her mother to hire a hitman to kill Evyln
Moore, while making it appear as if she died from a
diabetes-related incident. The hitman turned out to be an
The day his daughter was
arrested, Thomas Dorsett, who owned an air conditioning and
refrigeration business, tried to commit suicide in the parking lot
of his lawyer’s office.
"The prosecutor’s office has
been unbelievable in their prosecution and in support of me and my
family," Evlyn Moore said after court. "I feel that Stephen has
gotten justice today."
Manchester man was beaten to
death before being burned in car, reports say
By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger
August 26, 2010
An Ocean Township man accused in
the death of his former son-in-law paid a man from Long Branch
$3,000 to torch the car in which the victim’s body was found,
according to court papers released today.
Meanwhile, Monmouth County
Prosecutor Luis Valentin said the victim, Stephen Moore, 42, of
Manchester, whose body was found in the truck of his mother’s
burning car, was beaten to death.
As new details emerged about
Moore’s slaying, the man accused of setting the car ablaze
appeared in court in Freehold, where a Superior Court judge
maintained his bail at $500,000.
Anthony Morris, 31, of Long
Branch, knew Moore’s body was in the trunk of the beige 2001
Nissan Altima when he torched it in Long Branch in the early
morning hours of Aug. 18, Valentin said.
Moore’s ex father-in-law,
64-year-old Thomas Dorsett, is accused of paying Morris $3,000 to
set the fire, according to court records.
Moore, a salesman for an
Eatontown car dealership, disappeared after dropping off his
20-month-old daughter at his ex-wife’s house on Lockwood Place in
Ocean Township at around 7 a.m. on Aug. 16.
Colleagues alerted police when
Moore did not show up for work that morning. His body was found
two days later, after firefighters extinguished the car fire at
Long Branch and Seaview avenues in Long Branch.
"Mr. Moore suffered a
particularly violent death, which included massive head injury
which led to his death," Valentin said today.
The prosecutor declined to say
whether a weapon was used but said Moore was killed on Aug. 16. He
would not say where the killing occurred or how the fire was set.
He also would not say who killed Moore, but noted the victim’s
ex-wife, Kathleen Dorsett, and her father are charged with murder.
Morris is not charged with murder.
Divorce records and other court
papers show Moore and his ex-wife had a contentious relationship,
particularly about the rearing of their daughter. Moore was
seeking more visitation time with the toddler but Dorsett, 36,
complained in court papers that he did not take proper care of
Valentin said that animosity
played a role in the killing.
"It certainly looks like the
divorce and the relationship between Mr. Moore and his ex-wife as
well as strained relationships involving the couple as well as the
father-in-law certainly contributed to that," he said.
Morris, who worked for a company
that has connections to Thomas Dorsett’s refrigeration service and
repair business, was friends with Thomas Dorsett, Valentin said.
Authorities are looking for
information from anyone who may have seen the Altima between Aug.
16 and Aug. 18 or who may have seen or had conversations with any
of the suspects leading up to Moore’s death and the suspects’
Valentin said investigators are
trying to determine where the Altima had been during those two
days before it turned up ablaze at Long Branch and Seaview avenues
in Long Branch. He said it was possible someone could have been
driving the car for two days with the body in the trunk.
Morris, who is being held in the
Monmouth County jail in Freehold, was charged with arson for hire,
tampering with physical evidence, desecrating human remains,
hindering apprehension and conspiracy to commit arson and/or
desecration of human remains.
Dorsett, who lives across the
street from his daughter, was charged Tuesday with one count of
murder, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one
count of tampering with a witness. On Wednesday, the prosecutor’s
office filed two additional charges against him: arson for hire
and conspiracy to commit arson.
Thomas Dorsett was hospitalized
hours before he was charged on Tuesday and he remains under watch
of Monmouth County sheriff’s officers until his release, at which
time he will be sent to the Monmouth County jail.
Ex-wife is charged in
slaying of Manchester man found in burning car
By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger
August 23, 2010
The ex-wife of a Manchester man
whose body was found in the trunk of his mother’s burning car in
Long Branch last week was arrested today and charged in his death,
Kathleen Dorsett, 36, of Ocean
Township, was charged with one count of murder and one count of
tampering with physical evidence in the death of Stephen Moore,
Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin said.
Moore’s body was found Aug. 18
in the trunk of a burning 2001 Nissan Altima after firefighters
extinguished the blaze at Seaview and Long Branch avenues around 4
a.m. Valentin said the car, with Moore in the trunk, had been
taken to that location and set ablaze.
Valentin said the couple had a
custody agreement that required Moore, 42, to drop their
20-month-old daughter off at Dorsett’s home. He said Moore had not
been seen or heard from since he dropped the child off on Aug. 16.
Valentin said Dorsett and Moore
were married in 2007 and divorced in June.
Valentin declined to say how
Moore died. He was identified through a comparison of dental
records, the prosecutor said.
Moore, who worked for a Monmouth
County auto dealer, was reported missing to the Manchester Police
Department on Aug. 16 after he failed to show up for work that
morning, Valentin said.
Bail for Dorsett, who is being
held in the Monmouth County jail in Freehold, has been set at $1.5
million, the prosecutor said.
He said others were involved in
"We are seeking the public’s
assistance in identifying all of the individuals who played a role
in Mr. Moore’s untimely death and the disposal of his body,"
Valentin said. "Police are actively pursuing numerous leads
regarding the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death as well
as how his body came to be in the trunk of his mother’s burning
Dorsett was arrested early today
near her home on Lockwood Place, Valentin said.
Authorities identify man
found in trunk of burning car in Long Branch
By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger
August 20, 2010
A man found in the trunk of a burning car in Long Branch was
identified today as an Ocean County resident.
Monmouth County investigators
have labeled the death of Stephen Moore, 42, of Sheffield Drive in
Manchester, as a homicide and are asking for help from the public
in solving the case.
After firefighters extinguished
the blaze, emergency personnel found Moore’s body in the trunk of
his beige 2001 Nissan Altima at Seaview and Long Branch avenues 4
Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis
Valentin said investigators are looking for information on Moore’s
last known whereabouts.
"We are asking for the public’s
assistance in providing information regarding this incident and
certainly anyone who may have seen Mr. Moore in the hours and days
leading up to the incident," he said.