Just a quick post about some developments in a couple stories I have been following that came about while I was on vacation.
David Neal Shepard (above), the man who pled guilty to shooting and stabbing Dr. Joseph Sonnier, chief pathologist at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock Texas last July, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table as part of the plea deal.
Authorities believe Mr. Shepard was paid $9,000 to murder Dr. Sonnier by Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon, a plastic surgeon in nearby Amarillo, because Sonnier was dating Dixon’s ex-girlfriend.
Dixon is still in jail on $10 million bail. No trial date has yet been set, as prosecutors apparently have three other murder trials to contend with before the end of the year.
It is still not clear whether Shepard has agreed to testify against Dixon, as prosecutors have so far refused to say, but if I were a betting man, I would say he has.
More fallout in Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services fraud scheme
Two physicians and a BLS salesman have pled guilty to charges related to the $200 million bribery and kickback scheme at BLS first revealed publicly in April of this year. Seventeen people connected to BLS have now pled guilty.
Dr. Angelo Calabrese and Dr. Paul Ostergaard admitted accepting more than $130,000 and $50,000, respectively, for referring lab work to BLS. David McCann pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and paying bribes to physicians on behalf of BLS.
Drs. Calabrese and Ostergaard will forfeit $334,000 and $53,900, respectively, and also face $250,000 fines and 5 years in prison for accepting the bribes. Sentencing is not until March 2014.