Dixon's $10 million bond reduced in capital murder case

Dixon's $10 million bond reduced in capital murder case

Amarillo, TX - After being denied a bond reduction nearly a year ago, Amarillo's Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon's request to lessen his $10 million bond has been granted.

Dixon has remained in jail since his arrest in July of 2012, and on Wednesday, his bond was reduced by $8 million.

It's been nearly three years since Dixon was arrested in suspicion of the murder of Dr. Joseph Sonnier of Lubbock. Dixon pleaded not guilty to the crime, however his initial trial resulted in a hung jury, sending him back to jail on a $10 million bond.

"Well $10 million for me would be unreasonable," Joshua Dixon, owner of Bargain Bail Bonds in Amarillo, said. "The reason is that puts myself personally liable for the $10 million if the defendant failed to appear in court. And most bondsmen in Texas are just small businesses. I'm not willing to put up $10 million or risk $10 million on a client."

Dixon asked his bond be lowered, however State District Judge, Jim Bob Darnell, denied the request.

In January, Dixon's lawyers filed a 26 page document with the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Judicial District in Amarillo asking to reverse the district court's ruling.

The document outlined reasons why Dixon's bond should be reduced, stating the amount was excessive and oppressive.

Yesterday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overruled both the 140th District Court in Lubbock and the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo.

The CCA states "On the facts of this case, and after considering the other relevant bail factors and measuring them against the relevant bail criteria, we hold that the habeas court abused its discretion when it denied appellant relief."

It said the power of bail is not to be used as an instrument of oppression, but to make sure a defendant appears in court.

And so Dixon's bail was reduced to $2 million.

"$2 million is a little better,"Joshua Dixon said. "It's probably still more than I would be willing to risk on a client, but you know, we could do a $2 million bond. We would charge around $200,000."

If Dixon can come up with the money, he could be bailed out of jail as quickly as the jail can process his bond.

Dixon still faces capital murder charges and is accused of hiring David Shepard to murder his ex-girlfriends new boyfriend. Shepard pleaded guilty to the crime.

Jury selection for the next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12 and testimony is expected to begin Oct. 23.