Alleged hitman in Sonnier murder moved to Lubbock jail - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Alleged hitman in Sonnier murder moved to Lubbock jail

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David Neal Shepard (Source: Potter County Sheriff's Office) David Neal Shepard (Source: Potter County Sheriff's Office)
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  • Covenant chief pathologist shot to death

    Covenant chief pathologist shot to death

    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.

After spending several days in the Randall County Jail, David Neal Shepard is booked into the Lubbock County Jail.

The 51-year-old is accused of being a hitman for Amarillo plastic surgeon Thomas Michael Dixon. Lubbock authorities say Shepard is the man that both shot and stabbed Dr. Joseph Sonnier. Both men are held on a $10 million dollar bond each.

According to the arrest warrant, Dixon paid Shepard 3 silver bars worth about $9,000 to kill Sonnier. Police say Shepard staked out Sonnier's home for weeks before killing him.

Police believe Dixon wanted Sonnier dead because he had started dating Dixon's ex-girlfriend, but what could Shepard's motive be?

Police haven't officially released why they believe Shepard agreed to murder Sonnier, but taking a look at Shepard's history a troubled financial past is revealed.

Court documents show back in 1998 Shepard was arrested for theft worth more than $20,000 but less than $100,000. Shepard was given 10 years probation.

Then several years later, KAMR in Amarillo is reporting he was arrested again for writing hot checks.

In 2004 Shepard filed for bankruptcy, and marked that his dept was estimated between $100,000 and $500,000.

KAMR also reported they spoke to several people in Amarillo who know Shepard. They say he was well known in the underground poker scene, and would easily lose thousands of dollars in a typical poker night.

If Shepard murdered Sonnier like police say, money could possibly be his motive.

A Lubbock attorney representing Dixon says Dixon will fight the charges. No attorney for Shepard has been named in jail records.

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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