David Shepard pleads guilty to Sonnier murder - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

David Shepard pleads guilty to Sonnier murder

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David Shepard David Shepard
Dr. Michael Dixon Dr. Michael Dixon
Dr. Joseph Sonnier Dr. Joseph Sonnier

David Shepard pleaded guilty Thursday to killing a prominent Lubbock doctor for money.

Shepard entered his guilty plea in a Lubbock courtroom Thursday morning, confessing to killing Dr. Joseph Sonnier of Lubbock saying he was paid off by Amarillo Dr. Michael Thomas Dixon. A guilty plea that could mean a deal for Shepard, but possibly just the opposite for Dixon.

NewsChannel 10 found new details of his confession of the murder to his roommate in an arrest warrant affidavit, details that lock down Shepard's story and may bring Dixon down as well.

Statements like "he was paid three silver bars by Michael Dixon to kill Sonnier", and "he had gotten the gun from Dixon" that could back up Shepard's guilty plea, but tear down Dixon's defense.

"That's going to change everything. The jury's going to figure that out and go well, so much for circumstantial evidence being needed here," said Amarillo Criminal Defense Attorney Jeff Blackburn. "We've got the guy that did the deed saying this is what I did and this is how I did it. That's pretty damning evidence when you're the one that's going to trial, and you're the one that's left."

Dixon's defense attorney, Selden Hale, is based in Amarillo but when NewsChannel 10 reached out to him by phone, he declined to comment. Still no trial has been set for Dixon, something that even a guilty plea from the co-defendant may not have the power to speed up.

"The State, after getting testimony like that nailed down and secure, is not inclined to make many deals," explained Blackburn. "So I wouldn't count on this making anything happen quicker than it would."

A sentencing date for Shepard is expected to take place sometime in the next two weeks, and now following his guilty plea, a judge is recommending a sentence of life in prison without parole.