Phone records, text messages released in Dixon retrial

Published: Nov. 4, 2015 at 11:49 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2016 at 11:54 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On Tuesday, phone records and text messages were front and center in the murder re-trial of Thomas Dixon.

Tuesday was the eighth day of the re-trial at the Lubbock County Courthouse.

The Amarillo Plastic surgeon is accused of hiring David Shepard to kill Lubbock doctor Joseph Sonnier back in 2012.

Investigators believe Dixon was angry that Dr. Sonnier was dating his ex-girlfriend.

Jurors learned of several searches made on Shepard's phone for items including: GPS tracker, silver prices, price of gold, largest handgun.

The jurors also heard and saw several text message exchanges between Dixon and Shepard.

In May of 2012- a conversation between the two men discussed developing a new plan of surveillance.

Later that same month, Dixon sent Shepard another text saying "so go for today?" And Shepard responds saying "no, I have my girls."

The day before Sonnier's murder on July 9, 2012, both Dixon and Shepard talk about "going south" Shepard says "I've got a good feeling about tomorrow" in which Dixon replies "hope so."

The next day Shepard sends Dixon a text saying "hope he shows." Dixon replies "absolutely, put it on em."

The day after Sonnier's murder, Dixon sends a message to Shepard saying "just had a visit from Lubbock Police... They will see our texts and conversations... Stay calm, lay low."

Now, the defense is arguing that those messages were taken out of context- and brought up that some messages that were sent and received between Dixon and Shepard are missing. The defense says only about half of those texts were recovered.

Later on in the day, the state called Amarillo Police Officer, Cody Lavery to the witness stand.

Lavery was assigned to the Amarillo Dive Team in 2012 and on October 3, 2012 he responded to a call at Dunivan Lake in Amarillo.

The police officer explained to the jurors that he was a safety diver that day, there to watch and assist the diver in the water if needed.

When Lavery began searching an area of the lake on his hands and knees, he says visibility was minimal and he did find a gun.\

Realizing he found a gun, Lavery explains that he placed the firearm back in the location it was found and others were notified of what he discovered.

The state asked Lavery if the magazine to the firearm was still inside of the gun, he replied, "yes." However, he was unable to recall if there were any bullets found in the magazine.

Shortly after, retired ATF Agent Lopez was called to the witness stand by the state.

After viewing the firearm retrieved from Dunivan Lake, Lopez was able to confirm that it was the same weapon he established a gun trace on. He explains the trace shows the gun was purchased in 1994 by Perry M. Dixon II, from a gun dealer in Borger, Texas.

The state then called Perry Dixon II to the witness stand, where he says he does remember the gun, but says when he purchased it, it had black grips on it.

Perry Dixon II explained to jurors that he gave the gun to Dixon for protection when leaving his office late at night.

He also says he met Shepard in early July, and recalls around the 8th, admitting it was just a few days before Sonnier's murder.

Perry Dixon II was dismissed from the witness stand, the trial was recessed until 9 a.m. on Thursday morning.

We will continue to follow the latest developments on this re-trial. Be sure to stay with us on air and online.

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