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Thread: Lubbock chief of pathology slain; broken window found as police investigate homicide

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    Lubbock chief of pathology slain; broken window found as police investigate homicide

    Lubbock is about 125 miles south of Amarillo, and 340 miles west-northwest of Dallas.

    Lubbock police say doctor found slain at his home (amarillo.com)
    Dr. Joseph Sonnier III, chief pathologist for Covenant Health System in Lubbock, was confirmed as a homicide victim Wednesday afternoon by police detectives at Sonnier’s home, where he was found.

    Sgt. Jonathan Stewart said officers were responding to a check welfare call around 1:48 p.m. [Wednesday] when a landscaper and a maid found Sonnier’s lifeless body inside the residence.
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    A neighbor told [the Lubbock Avalanch-Journal] one of the homes across the street from Sonnier’s has been broken into three times in recent months, and she has seen suspicious vehicles driving in the area, watching the houses.
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    more at link above
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    Sgt. Stewart said landscapers had found a broken window at [Sonnier's] house.
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    Stewart told the Associated Press that they currently have no suspects in the case.
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    Sonnier was the first husband of Becky Gallegos, 55, who was shot and killed on July 12, 2010, in a murder-suicide along with her second husband, Fermin Gallegos, 62, in Gillespie County.
    ---
    more at link below:

    Doctor found slain at his Lubbock home (kxan.com)

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    wow. sad. First a federal defender in OR and now a chief of pathology in TX.

    Not a good day for those involved in criminal investigation and legal system
    Five years ago I wandered in here because of a google search on Haleigh Cummings. "Welcome," folks said "look around a bit, sit a spell." It wasn't long before I found Caylee's threads. It was just that simple.

    If you are new to the site allow me to say, "welcome. Look around a bit, sit a spell."

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    So right now it sounds like a cut-and-dried break-in with discovery of the perpetrator by the homeowner, who is then subsequently shot to death by the perp.

    But if problems in the neighborhood - the break-ins at the house across the street - were for whatever reason known, a person known to the doctor may have arrived, been admitted to his home, shot him to death, then upon leaving, broken a window to simulate a break-in in order to confuse investigators.

    Hm. Probably the former. But one never knows. Interesting that violence had, in the form of gunshots, touched his life before. Even in Texas, for a well-known and -respected doctor that would be rare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    So right now it sounds like a cut-and-dried break-in with discovery of the perpetrator by the homeowner, who is then subsequently shot to death by the perp.

    But if problems in the neighborhood - the break-ins at the house across the street - were for whatever reason known, a person known to the doctor may have arrived, been admitted to his home, shot him to death, then upon leaving, broken a window to simulate a break-in in order to confuse investigators.

    Hm. Probably the former. But one never knows. Interesting that violence had, in the form of gunshots, touched his life before. Even in Texas, for a well-known and -respected doctor that would be rare.
    Could it be someone who blamed Dr. Sonnier for the break up of his first marriage, thinking that if he had been a better husband that his wife would never have become involved with the next husband who ended up murdering her? This seems to me like something that may have been contemplated for quite a while...waiting for the anniversary of the ex-wife's death, walking in to Dr. Sonnier's own home and making sure that he knew he was about to die and why.

    If the break-ins are connected at all it could be part of a plan to distract LE toward looking at a random encounter instead of a well planned execution.

    I would want to give a close look at members of the ex-wife's family or one of the three sons. I'm not wanting to cast doubt upon the whole family, as they are suffering another terrible tragedy. Sometimes a person who is normally law-abiding and responsible faces a personal loss and finally breaks. Just another possibility to check out. MOO

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    Plastic surgeon arrested in Lubbock doctor's death (AP / kltv.com)
    LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - A plastic surgeon is among two people arrested in the slaying of a fellow Texas doctor in what police are investigating as a love triangle.

    Police on Monday announced the arrest of Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon of Amarillo and David Neal Shepard.

    Documents in an arrest warrant suggest Dixon arranged to have Dr. Joseph Sonnier III killed because Sonnier was dating Dixon's ex-girlfriend.

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    more at link above

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    Police believe love triangle involving Sonnier contributed to his murder for hire (lubbockonline.com)
    A love triangle was the motive in a murder-for-hire in the shooting death of Dr. Joseph Sonnier, Lubbock police believe.

    Police in Amarillo have arrested Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon, who according to an arrest warrant, paid David Neal Shepard three silver bars to kill Sonnier because the Lubbock doctor was dating Dixon’s ex-girlfriend.

    The bars are worth about $3,000 each.
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    more at link above

    Arrest warrant affidavit

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    Terrible, just terrible!

    I hope the families involved on both sides can find some kind of comfort!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaroba07 View Post
    Terrible, just terrible!

    I hope the families involved on both sides can find some kind of comfort!
    Hello jaroba07 - always good to see SEKansas on here!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wfgodot View Post
    Hello jaroba07 - always good to see SEKansas on here!
    Thank you wfgodot!!!

    I re-read the news articles...It always amazes me when I hear things like this. For the life of me I cannot figure out the "why" of any of it! I'm sure that is alot of us though!

    Did he pay in silver bars because he thought it could not be linked back to him? It also amazes me that people are willing to get paid to do such a thing.

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    Dr. Joseph Sonnier III's children deal with murder of father on 2nd anniversary of mother's murder

    http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/...ersary-mothers

    Wow!

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    Not sure why the silver bars (though it does give the case a "betrayal" context: the scriptural "30 pieces of silver," and, here, the three silver bars).

    For some reason, when I found this case, I thought it might be hinkier than just your average "neighborhood break-in + violence" incident. As two of the three - the dead man and one of the accused - are not only doctors but doctors in specialized areas - pathology, plastic surgery - I'm vindicated in having thought so. Lubbock's medical community must be reeling.

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    I hope Texas empties a syringe in these two. I will happily be there to watch if possible.

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    Lubbock seems to attract more than its fair share of unscrupulous docs IMO. Quite a side show...and a shame for all of the good docs who practice there to have to deal with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TGIRecovered View Post
    Lubbock seems to attract more than its fair share of unscrupulous docs IMO. Quite a side show...and a shame for all of the good docs who practice there to have to deal with.
    Let's be clear here:

    The "unscrupulous" doc who hired someone to murder an innocent man was from Amarillo.

    The doctor from Lubbock was, by all accounts (including my own personal experience), the most kind, generous, selfless and unpretentious man - nothing like the egotistical maniac (from AMARILLO) that hired a buffoon to kill him.

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    Yes, I agree that they are not all unscrupulous, and certainly mean no offense to Dr. Sonnier!

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    Dr. Joseph Sonnier III's Family Knew Of Problems With Thomas Dixon

    LUBBOCK, Texas The family of Dr. Joseph Sonnier III had gathered in Louisiana for his funeral when they heard the news: Police had accused another doctor of paying to have him killed.

    The doctor, Thomas Michael Dixon, was arrested this week and is accused of paying a business associate in bars of silver to kill Sonnier, who was dating Dixon's ex-girlfriend.

    Family members who spoke with Sonnier in recent weeks say they knew an ex-boyfriend of Sonnier's girlfriend was causing the couple problems. The family's focus now, according to Sonnier's sons, is to pursue justice.

    full article at link ............. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1684533.html

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    http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/news/loc...gIcZGEqOA.cspx

    A Lubbock District judge issued a gag order in the pending capital murder case against an amarillo doctor. Plastic surgeon Thomas Michael Dixon, accused of hiring another Amarillo man to kill covenant chief pathologist Joseph Sonnier in July of 2012. Doctor Sonnier was found shot and stabbed to death in his Lubbock home.

    Last September, co-defendant David Neal Shepard was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to capital murder. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if Dixon is convicted of that charge.

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    http://lubbockonline.com/crime-and-c...al-murder-case

    The Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office is no longer seeking the death penalty in the capital murder case of Thomas Dixon...

    The case is expected to go to trial in late October...

    A spokesperson for Darnell’s office could not say why the death penalty sentence was withdrawn.

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    http://www.theeagle.com/news/texas/j...fb6734b79.html

    Interviews of potential jurors begin Tuesday for the capital murder trial of 50-year-old Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon, who's been jailed since his arrest.

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    http://lubbockonline.com/filed-onlin...n#.VEwNIigqWAA

    The trial of Dr. Thomas Dixon is set for Monday at the 140th District Court...

    Lubbock police investigators believed Dixon was jealous of Sonnier. It was Shepard’s roommate who directed police to him. Paul Reynold’s told investigators that, after a failed suicide attempt, Shepard admitted to killing Sonnier.

    During an evidentiary hearing in June Det. Ylanda Pena said Reynolds, who knew Shepard for more than 30 years, had information about the homicide that was not released to the public such as the fact that the killer did not break the window used to enter Sonnier’s home and that a Gatorade bottle investigators found at the scene was used as a silencer for a gun.

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    http://lubbockonline.com/filed-onlin...d#.VFJSgCgqWAA

    Thomas Dixon’s defense attorneys continued pursuing their theory Wednesday that the main witness in Joseph Sonnier III’s homicide case was a co-conspirator in the slaying...

    He asked Johnson why Paul Reynolds, who identified Dixon and Shepard as suspects in the case, was never investigated. Reynolds was Shepard’s longtime friend and roommate at the time.

    Reynolds called police four days after the investigation into Sonnier’s killing began and said Shepard killed Sonnier on Dixon’s request. A recording of the call was played in court.

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    http://lubbockonline.com/filed-onlin...l#.VFJ-CygqWAA

    Lubbock police Cpl. Dustin Gay said Thursday he saw a medical examiner remove four bullets and two bullet fragments from Dr. Joseph Sonnier during an autopsy.

    Gay was among the Lubbock Police Department officers who testified in the capital murder trial of Dr. Thomas Dixon as it entered its fourth day...

    Det. Garland Timms returned to the witness stand and presented a smart phone, a thumb drive, and a Potter County Sheriff’s badge police collected from Shepard’s apartment.

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    http://www.kcbd.com/story/27175382/d...n-murder-trial

    Proceedings got off to a fiery start when the defense questioned text messages being read to the jury that neither they nor the judge had the opportunity to review. That came after Judge Jim Bon Darnell allowed text messages sent between Shepard and Dixon to be admitted as evidence.

    Judge Darnell ultimately ruled the text messages that were questioned by the jury be deleted and the jury not consider them.

    At that point, the defense asked for a mistrial which Judge Darnell overruled.

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    http://www.connectamarillo.com/news/...2#.VGTcBYfZIWc

    Today is Day 13 - the day that Dixon himself will take the stand.

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