Shepard to receive life term for murder-for-hire

David Neal Shepard.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - A 52-year-old man who admitted to killing a rival for the affections of a client's ex-girlfriend is set for sentencing in a state court in Lubbock.

David Neal Shepard will formally receive a life sentence without parole on Monday for his guilty plea last month to capital murder. He admitted to killing Dr. Joseph Sonnier III. The plea came in exchange for prosecutors removing the death penalty from their agenda.

Sonnier family members are to make victim impact statements at Monday's hearing.

Authorities say Thomas Michael Dixon of Amarillo hired Shepard to kill Sonnier, who was dating Dixon's ex-girlfriend. The 57-year-old Sonnier was found dead in his Lubbock home in July 2012 from gunshot and stab wounds.

Dixon remains in Lubbock County Jail awaiting trial on a capital murder charge.

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