Capital murder retrial begins Monday

Capital murder retrial begins Monday

Thomas Michael Dixon is accused of hiring a hit man to murder a romantic rival, Dr. Joseph Sonnier, in his Lubbock home in 2012.

Last year, Judge Jim Bob Darnell declared a mistrial after the jury couldn't deliver a verdict. 

After more than a month of testimony last year, it was a mistrial for capital murder defendant Thomas Michael Dixon.

"A lot of what caused the mistrial was the fact that the jury had so many options to choose from," attorney Kristopher Espino said.

Along with capital murder, the jury could have also chosen between murder, manslaughter or none of the above.

"You've got 12 people who have to decide unanimously as to that, that can sometimes be a tricky proposition," Espino said.

Wednesday, the prosecution and the defense are back for the jury selection process.

"You have very skilled lawyers on both sides who are going to do everything they can to try to find a jury that is impartial," Espino said.

Espino said the high profile nature of the case might be a challenge for both the state and the defense.

"One of the main questions that both sides are going to be interested in, is what they have heard about the trial and if they have any preconceived notions one way or the other for the state or for the defense in this case," he said.

Both parties have access to the transcripts from the previous trial.

"I would assume both parties went to town analyzing those transcripts and may have made some decisions as far as how to either go forward with the strategy they had last time or to maybe reassess and change their strategy," Lubbock attorney Jeff Nicholson said.

Espino and Nicholson agreed. The defense and the state have their work cut out for them.

"It's very difficult on both parties because they have to reassess everything they've done and they have to make the decision along those lines. Now who's got the tougher job the second time, I don't know," Nicholson said.

"They've done their own research and their own preparations getting ready for this and know probably more clearly going in this time what the strengths and what the weaknesses are of their cases going forward, and to highlight those and minimize those as much as they possibly can," Espino said.

Testimony is set to begin Monday, Oct. 26.

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