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Death Penalty Sought in Murder-for-Hire Case

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013  |  Updated 4:44 PM CDT
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Death Penalty Sought in Murder-for-Hire Case

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The Texas death chamber in Huntsville.

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The prosecutor in the trial of an Amarillo plastic surgeon accused in a murder-for-hire plot says he'll seek the death penalty.

Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell said Wednesday that he'll pursue the death penalty for Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon.

Prosecutors say the 49-year-old surgeon offered another man three silver bars worth $3,000 each to kill Dr. Joseph Sonnier III. The 57-year-old chief pathologist at Covenant Health System in Lubbock was dating Dixon's ex-girlfriend when he died.

The accused hit man, David Neal Shepard, is serving life in prison without a parole option as part of a plea deal that eliminated the possibility of a death penalty.

Prosecutors say Shepard broke into Sonnier's home in July 2012 and used a gun Dixon had given him to kill him.

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