Amarillo police divers searching Lawrence Lake for evidence in the killing of Lubbock pathologist Dr. Joseph Sonnier III recovered a container and pulled it out of the water. The details of what was found were not immediately available.
Lubbock police Lt. Christopher Powe of the crimes against persons division said department investigators began scouring Lawrence Lake, east of Western Crossing, about 8 a.m. Wednesday. He would not elaborate.
Police found Sonnier, 57, the chief pathologist for Covenant Health System, shot and stabbed in his Lubbock home July 11.
Nearly two months later, a Lubbock County grand jury indicted Amarillo plastic surgeon Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon and businessman David Neal Shepard on two counts each of capital murder.
Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Matt Powell wouldn’t say if his office had cut a deal with Shepard in return for showing authorities the location of additional evidence.
Jack Stoffregen, Shepard’s lawyer, said he couldn’t confirm any negotiations with the District Attorney’s Office or police.
Daniel W. Hurley, Dixon’s attorney, did not respond to a telephone message left by a reporter.
In addition to a plea negotiation conference scheduled for Shepard and Dixon on Oct. 25, the court file shows a Jan. 24 plea negotiation conference for Shepard alone.
Dixon orchestrated a murder-for-hire plot after being dumped by a woman who became Sonnier’s girlfriend, prosecutors said. Dixon continued pursuing her even after she’d begun her romance with Sonnier, the girlfriend told police.
The surgeon paid Shepard three silver bars, worth $3,000 apiece, to kill Sonnier, prosecutors said.
(Avalanche-Journal reporter Walt Nett contributed to this story.)
Divers search Amarillo lake for evidence in Sonnier killing
Lubbock’s Crimes Against Persons Lt. Chris Powe said department investigators began scouring Lawrence Lake.
Aziza Musa/Morris News Service
October 3, 2012