The case of Dr. Joseph Sonnier III and Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon will be the feature mystery on Dateline NBC. Dr. Joseph Sonnier III was the renowned Lubbock, Texas, pathologist who was found dead in his home almost four years ago. In a new episode of Dateline titled “Obsession In The Lone Star State,” NBC viewers will hear intimate details about the case of Dr. Mike Dixon, a doctor who was arrested, along with his friend, David Shepard, for the murder of Dr. Sonnier. The case is so strange it could be the inspiration for a true-story movie. However, the family of Dr. Joseph Sonnier III can’t find anything entertaining about the murder of their father, a man who was very well respected in the community, where he worked as Chief Pathologist at Covenant Health Systems.
Dateline NBC will investigate the case that made headlines in 2012, a case that was talked about on every major news show including Nancy Grace. It started when coworkers noticed that he did not show up for work that day. A short time later, police received a 911 call from the home of Dr. Sonnier, where landscapers discovered his body. When police arrived at the Texas home located at 4603 21st St., they found the body of a deceased male with an apparent gunshot wound to the body. A broken window and the room’s contents indicated there was a struggle before the murder.
An autopsy report of the death of Joseph Sonnier III showed that he had been shot and stabbed, according to information revealed by Dateline. The case shocked his community and his coworkers as everyone tried to understand who could have committed the crime. At first, it appeared that it could have been a break in or home invasion of some sort, until investigators received a tip by a person who claimed that his roommate, David Neal Shepard, confessed to him that he was responsible for the murder.
As police investigated the case further, they found that Dr. Sonnier, was dating a woman whose ex-boyfriend was connected to the roommate who made the call to police. That connection, plus the evidence led to the arrest of David Shepard and Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon, a plastic surgeon in Amarillo, Texas.
Authorities say that Dr. Michael Dixon, aka Mike Dixon, was so jealous that his ex-girlfriend was dating Dr. Sonnier, that he devised a plot to have his friend, David Shepard, kill him. In exchange, Shepard would receive three silver bars, all worth about $3,000 each.
Some say in addition to being a skilled doctor, Dr. Joseph Sonnier III, also led a secret life and was considered a ladies man. Dr. Sonnier’s distraught children say they knew all about their father’s life but believe that he was a wonderful father who didn’t deserve for his life to end in such a tragic way.
The death of Dr. Sonnier is not the only tragedy that this family has had to face. Lubbock Online reports that Sonnier’s ex-wife, Becky Gallegos, was killed by her husband, Juan Gallegos, in a murder-suicide in their home in 2010. To get all of the background information and updates in the case, be sure to watch Friday’s Dateline at 10/9 central on NBC.
Here are a few facts on Dr. Joseph Sonnier III that were published in an obituary, according to News Channel 10.
“Dr. Sonnier grew up in Shreveport where he and his family moved to in 1966. He was a graduate of Captain Shreve High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1976, graduating summa cum laude. He received his medical degree from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport. He was chosen for a residency in Pathology at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, where in his final year he was made Chief Resident. At the completion of his studies, he worked for and made partner at DPA Laboratories, which he sold to AmeriPath. At the time of his death, Dr. Sonnier was still with AmeriPath as Medical Director and Chief Pathologist for Covenant Health System in Lubbock.”
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