Dateline: Stephen Moore’s Murderer, Ex-Wife Kathleen Dorsett Says She Was “Coerced”

Long Branch, NJ beach

The Dateline Saturday Night Mystery episode “Family Affair” investigates the 2010 disappearance and murder of Stephen Moore. His whereabouts remained a mystery until a car erupted in flames in the Jersey Shore town of Long Branch, New Jersey. Moore’s burnt remains were found in the trunk of the car.

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In 2013, Stephen’s ex-wife, former school teacher Kathleen Dorsett, and her father Thomas Dorsett pleaded guilty to the murder of Stephen Moore, among other charges including arson (Thomas), desecration of human remains (Kathleen), and attempted murder of Moore’s mother. Kathleen’s mother, Lesley Dorsett, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

Kathleen Dorsett was sentenced to 58 years in prison; her father Thomas Dorsett to 45 years and Lesley Dorsett to seven years. (Note: Lesley Dorsett has already been released from prison.)

In 2018, Kathleen Dorsett tried to withdraw her guilty plea but her attempt was denied by a state appeals court. Kathleen Dorsett claimed her lawyer “told her she could not win the case,” and “coerced (her) to accept the plea offer.” The judges rejected Dorsett’s claims and said Dorsett’s attorney gave “reasonable advice” and added, “Rejection of the plea bargain would not have been rational.”

Dateline airs Saturdays at 9 pm on NBC.

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