Two men indicted for capital murder in death of Covenant doctor - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Two men indicted for capital murder in death of Covenant doctor

Thomas Michael Dixon (Source: Potter County Sheriff's Office) 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)
Dr. Joseph Sonnier Dr. Joseph Sonnier
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

On Thursday during a special Lubbock Grand Jury two men were indicted on capital murder charges for the death of a prominent Covenant doctor.

Police say Amarillo plastic surgeon Thomas Michael Dixon, 48, paid his friend David Neal Shepard, 51, to murder Covenant's chief pathologist Joseph Sonnier in a murder-for-hire plot. On July 11th Dr. Sonnier was found shot and stabbed to death inside his Lubbock home near 21st Street and Toledo.

Police say this all centered around a woman, and that Sonnier was currently dating Dr. Dixon's ex-girlfriend. Investigators say this was the reason Dixon promised Shepard three silver bars worth about $9,000 to murder Sonnier.

Thursday the Grand Jury listened to evidence and testimony from detectives investigating Sonnier's murder. After several hours the jury handed down an indictment to both Dixon and Shepard with upgraded charges to capital murder.

"Murder is arranged punishment anywhere from five years probation all the way up to life in penitentiary, but that life doesn't really mean life… it means 60 years," Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Matt Powell said.  "Capital murder means there's only two forms of punishment. Life means life without parole and then there's the death penalty."

Both men are each charged with two counts of capital murder. The first charge is for murder-for-hire, and the second is for intentionally taking a life while in the process of breaking into a home.

Powell says the investigation is ongoing and that the District Attorney's Office will be working closely with the Lubbock Police Department to go through the evidence. Powell says as of now it is too early to set a trial date.

Both Dixon and Shepard remain behind bars at the Lubbock County Detention Center, each with a $10-million dollar bond.

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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