Day 4: Evidence from Shepard's apartment presented in Dixon murder trial

Published: Oct. 30, 2014 at 2:37 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 30, 2014 at 10:09 PM CDT
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Sunshine Stanek and Paige Fletcher
Sunshine Stanek and Paige Fletcher
Dr. Thomas Dixon
Dr. Thomas Dixon

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Testimony continued Thursday in day four of the capital murder trial of Amarillo plastic surgeon Thomas Dixon.

Dixon is accused of hiring David Shepard to kill former Covenant Chief Pathologist Dr. Joseph Sonnier III in July 2012.

Shepard has already pleaded guilty to killing Dr. Sonnier and is currently serving a sentence of life in prison without parole.

The first witness on Thursday morning was Cpl. Fletcher with the Lubbock Police Department. Fletcher photographed evidence in Amarillo as a part of the LPD investigation. Photographs were taken at David Shepard's apartment, his business office and the home of Thomas Dixon.

Cpl. Fletcher testified about the collected evidence, including multiple knives from Shepard's apartment, one of which appeared to be bloody. Multiple guns were found at Dixon's house - in his bedroom and in a gun safe. LPD also collected documents and miscellaneous items related to the case, including a birthday card sent to Dixon from Richelle Shetina.

Cpl. Fletcher also took photos of Shepard's office that were presented to the jury. They depicted a space that was nearly vacant. Shepard had a desk, a chair, a wooden stool in the corner of the room, a table with books and a Sonic cup, a box of photograph albums with "Rachel's room" written on the side, a printer sitting on top of the box it came in and a briefcase containing paperwork. Those documents related to David Shepard's business, of which Thomas Dixon owned a 30 percent share.

The defense questioned Cpl. Fletcher about specific details of the collection process and the evidence that was collected.

The next witness was Cpl. Dustin Gay with LPD.

Gay was at Dr Sonnier's autopsy and collected evidence from the medical examiner.

The defense questioned Cpl. Gay about that process, his role in it, and who physically collected the evidence.

Cpl. Gay said a total of five bullets were found inside of Dr. Sonnier's body during the autopsy.

The next witness was Detective Garland Timms.

The prosecution called Timms for a second time to testify about his role in the investigation in Amarillo.

Detective Timms went through each item collected as evidence, verifying them, explaining where they were found and describing their relevance.

He found four knives used for diving inside of Shepard's apartment, but no scuba equipment to accompany them. Detectives also showed pictures of bed sheets with blood stains on them.

Timms testified that it validated the Crime Line tip from his roommate that Shepard tried to kill himself. They also read what Detective Timms referred to as a "will" David Shepard wrote days before committing the murder. He wrote the letter to his wife saying that he was leaving everything he owned to his daughters, and what they didn't want could be sold.

Shepard's room was a cluttered mess, with clothes, belongings and discarded items left everywhere.

It was similar in Shepard's car, which Timms also photographed.

The most prominent item recovered inside was a nighttime rifle scope.

The final thing the the jury saw on Thursday were pictures taken from David Shepard's phone. They showed the backyard of Dr. Sonnier's house. One photo was zoomed in, showing the reflection of a man that looked like Shepard sitting in a chair in Sonnier's back yard.

As we've come to expect, Thomas Dixon sat with his hand under his chin, wearing a tan and black blazer with a calm look on his face.

We will continue to provide live updates Friday morning beginning at 9 a.m.

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