LUBBOCK, Texas — As of Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has accepted the capital murder case of Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon for review. Dixon was convicted of hiring David Neal Shephard to murder Dr. Joseph Sonnier of Lubbock.
Prosecutors described it as a love triangle. Dixon and Sonnier had a romantic interest in the same woman, according to testimony at trial.
Sonnier was found dead in his home in July 2012. Shepard pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence.
An appeals court in Amarillo overturned Dixon’s conviction in part because prosecutors did not have a search warrant for certain cell phone records used at trial. Prosecutors did have a court order but not a search warrant.
Dixon was convicted before a 2018 ruling from the United States Supreme Court which found that an order from a magistrate is insufficient. A search warrant is required for cell phone location information.
The appeals court in Amarillo also found that Dixon’s right to a public trial was violated.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin is the highest court in the state for criminal cases. The high court will review the case without oral arguments from the prosecution and defense.