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Mistrial granted in Dixon capital murder trial

Published: Nov. 19, 2014 at 7:29 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A mistrial has been granted by Judge Jim Bob Darnell in the Dixon murder trial.

The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Jury members began deliberations on Tuesday afternoon in the capital murder trial of Amarillo plastic surgeon Dr. 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.

It was a trial that Judge Darnell says is the longest he's ever been a part of in his 38 year career, and in the end two firm opinions of innocent were the difference.

What a mistrial means is that the case can be retried with the same charges at a later date with a new jury.

Judge Darnell thinks that could happen six to nine months from now.

Dixon will remain in prison for the time being on a 10 million dollar bond, he could file for a bond reduction in the coming days and possibly return home.

When Judge Darnell called the jury into the courtroom Wednesday afternoon, the family of Sonnier, Dixon and the attorneys had static expressions on their faces before walking out of the courtroom.

The attorneys say the gag order remains in effect and could not comment about the trial.

KCBD NewsChannel 11's Alex Zielinski spoke with Judge Darnell afterwards.

Judge Darnell says it was stressful sitting on the bench during these four weeks, and said he has never seen a hung jury more happy with one another than after Wednesday's decision. So ultimately, after one of the longest capital murder cases Lubbock has seen, it could start all over again in a matter of months.

Click here for a full list of stories covering the Dixon murder trial.

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