Sonnier family attends Shepard trial - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Sonnier family attends Shepard trial

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David Shepard David Shepard
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

David Shepard has been sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Covenant's Chief Pathologist Dr. Joseph Sonnier.

The decision was read by the judge just after 9 a.m. Monday Morning.

The Sonnier family was in attendance and had their chance to address Shepard directly. One of the most emotional statements came from Dr. Sonnier's son, Joseph Albert Sonnier IV.

Sonnier IV commended Shepard for listening to his conscience saying that his family respected him more for the decision.

Then Sonnier IV asked Shepard, "Did you have any clue the kind of man that you killed? For nine grand you shot and killed my father, my hero. My father was legendary. People loved him. He was a rock solid source of advice and charity for so many people."

As Sonnier IV said these words Shepard dropped his head and began to cry.

Sonnier IV continued, "My father's voice and memory become even stronger in death. My family genuinely loves each other. We are inseparable and unstoppable. You killed our dad, you killed our hero."

Shepard plead guilty on Aug. 29 allowing him to avoid trial that could have lead to the death penalty.

Authorities have also charged Amarillo plastic surgeon Dr. Thomas Dixon with the crime. His trial is pending at this time.

According to the arrest warrant, Amarillo plastic surgeon Dr. Thomas Dixon paid Shepard three silver bars worth $3,000 each to kill Sonnier.

Police say the murder is connected to a woman who once dated Dixon, but was Dr. Sonnier's girlfriend at the time of his death.

Shepard's attorney, Dennis Reeves, issued a statement after today's sentencing.

Reeves said, "This was David Shepard's way of saying that he was sorry.  By being found guilty of capital murder and being condemned to die in TDC, it's his only way, and small way, of saying he's sorry to the family and taking responsibility for what his role in this murder was."

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