Suspect pleads guilty in murder-for-hire case

David Shepard is accused of killing Dr. Joseph Sonnier III.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - A 52-year-old man who prosecutors say was hired by a plastic surgeon to kill a love rival in Texas last year has pleaded guilty to capital murder.

David Neal Shepard entered his plea Thursday in a Lubbock courtroom. Sentencing has not been scheduled.

Authorities say Thomas Michael Dixon of Amarillo hired Shepard to kill Dr. Joseph Sonnier III 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 and Shepard were each indicted on capital murder charges a month later.

An arrest warrant affidavit says Dixon offered Shepard three bars of silver valued at $3,000 each to kill Sonnier. It says Shepard's roommate told police that Shepard confessed to the crime after trying to commit suicide.

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