No Death Penalty in Dixon Case

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LUBBOCK -- An Amarillo doctor will not face the death penalty in an alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon however could face the same penalty as his alleged accomplice.

Judge Jim Bob Darnell issued a gag order in this case earlier this summer.

That applies to everyone except the judge.

That's where we're getting our information.

Judge Darnell's office tells KAMR NBC 4 they were informed by the district attorney he would not seek the death penalty.

That means if convicted, Dixon faces a maximum of life in prison without parole.

The same punishment his alleged accomplice, David Neal Shepard, received last summer when he pleaded guilty.

Dixon is accused of paying Shepherd $9,000 in silver bars to kill Dr. Joseph Sonnier.

The Lubbock pathologist was found shot and stabbed to death in his Lubbock home in July of 2012.

Dixon's trial is expected to begin sometime in late October in Lubbock.

Dixon remains in the Lubbock County Jail on $10-million bond.

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