Love triangle led to murder-for-hire of Lubbock doctor - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Love triangle led to murder-for-hire of Lubbock doctor

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Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon (Source: Potter County Sheriff's Office) Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon (Source: Potter County Sheriff's Office)
David Neal Shepard (Source: Potter County Sheriff's Office) David Neal Shepard (Source: Potter County Sheriff's Office)
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    Thursday, July 12 2012 12:08 AM EDT2012-07-12 04:08:30 GMT
    Lubbock Police responded to an apparent homicide scene in the 4600 block of 21st St Wednesday afternoon. Police are asking residents to avoid this area for the next several hours. At around 1:50 p.m.,
    Dr. Joseph Sonnier, the Chief Pathologist for Covenant Health System in Lubbock was found dead in his home on Wednesday afternoon, KCBD NewsChannel 11 has learned. Sonnier was victim of an apparent homicide.
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Lubbock police announced the arrest of two people in Amarillo Monday in connection with Dr. Joseph Sonnier's murder last Wednesday.

The two people in custody have been identified as Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon, 48, and David Neal Shepard, 51. Dixon is a plastic surgeon based in Amarillo who graduated from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in 1998. 
 
"It's not common,  and I don't know that we've ever encountered a case like this involving two high profile doctors," said Lubbock Police Captain Jon Caspell.
 
 
An arrest warrant obtained Monday suggests Sonnier was killed in a murder-for-hire plot instigated by a love triangle between Dr. Sonnier, Sonnier's girlfriend, and Dr. Dixon.
 
Investigators say Dixon was a former boyfriend of the slain doctor's girlfriend.

According to the warrant, Shepard's long-time friend and roommate told police that Shepard shared the details of the crime after Shepard attempted suicide on July 13. The roommate said he had known Shepard for 30 years.

The roommate said Shepard told him Dixon hired him to kill Sonnier, and that Dixon agreed to pay Shepard 3 silver bars, each worth about $3,000, for the murder. Amarillo Police informed Lubbock investigators that Shepard sold a 100 ounce bar of silver in an Amarillo pawn shop for $2,750 on June 15.

According to the warrant, the roommate said Dixon gave Shepard the gun used in the murder. He also said Shepard had been watching Sonnier for weeks and had even been in Sonnier's backyard. Shepard also told the roommate he had texted Dixon several times while watching Sonnier.

The warrant also says that Sonnier's girlfriend told investigators in an interview on the day of the murder that Dixon was no longer her boyfriend but that he continued to pursue her.
 
Dixon was brought to Lubbock Monday evening and booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center. Shepard is still in custody in Randall County. Both men are charged with first degree murder and are being held on $10-million dollar bonds each.
 
Lubbock Police say the girlfriend is a witness and not a suspect. She is currently helping with the investigation.
 
"It is our hope that as the family holds Dr. Sonnier's funeral today that these arrest will begin to bring a sense of closure for them as well as a sense of justice being done for Dr. Sonnier, his family and friends," said Caspell.
   
Caspell says several Lubbock detectives are still in Amarillo conducting search warrants to gather more information and evidence on Sonnier's murder.

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