On tonight’s episode of Dateline NBC, Andrea Canning reports on the murder of pathologist Joe Sonnier and the subsequent investigation into the crime, which uncovered a love triangle. Dr. Thomas Dixon was later found guilty of hiring a hitman to kill Sonnier, though his conviction was overturned in 2018, ABC News reported.
According to ABC News, Dr. Joseph Sonnier was murdered in his home on July 10, 2012. He was the victim of an alleged murder-for-hire plot. Court documents obtained by KFDA 10 say that David Shepard, who was the gunman in the murder, pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
Dixon, however, had his first trial result in a mistrial. In 2015, a jury found him guilty of two counts of capital murder, resulting in a life sentence without parole, the same documents stated. The conviction was overturned, but Dixon is still serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Dixon Is Currently Serving Life in Prison At the Lubbock County Detention Center
Currently, Dr. Thomas Dixon is serving a life sentence in Texas. His conviction had previously been overturned, but it was reinstated, EverythingLubbock.com reported. As of April 23, 2020, Dixon had been returned to the Lubbock County Detention Center.
After the first conviction, Dixon and his lawyers argued that the cell phone information used in the case against him was obtained without a proper warrant, according to EverythingLubbock.com. At that time, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Amarilo agreed and overturned the conviction; however, it was later reinstated by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.
In July 2019, KFDA 10 reported that Dixon had posted a $2 million bail while awaiting the retrial.
Dixon Was Allegedly Jealous of Sonnier
According to KFDA 10’s report, Dixon was in a relationship with Richelle Shetina, who was a former professional cheerleader. Soon after, Dixon became friends with David Shepard, who, the report says, was enamored with Dixon’s lifestyle and girlfriend.
When Dixon and Shetina broke up and she began to see Dr. Joseph Sonnier, Dixon became jealous, according to KFDA 10. He was soon obsessed with Sonnier and his relationship with Shetina.
This resulted in Shepard entering Sonnier’s home and then shooting Sonnier seven times and stabbing him 11 times. Court documents obtained by KFDA detail the scene of the crime and describe that there was a trail of blood as well as cartridge casing leading to the garage, where Sonnier’s body was found.
Sonnier’s body was located the next day. Soon after, according to the same report, Shepard slit his wrist and tried to overdose on pills, later confessing the crime to his roommate. He said that he and Dixon planned out the murder of Sonnier. Shepard was paid in silver bars, the report states.
Current information shows that Dixon is serving time at Lubbock County Detention Center after being held for some time at the Randall County Jail.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Dixon is serving Life without parole and is not eligible for release at any point.