PROMINENT plastic surgeon Dr. Thom­as Dixon flew into a jealous rage when he learned that his ex-girlfriend was dating another doctor – so he hired a hit man to wipe out the competition!

Now the disgraced doc and his hired henchman are sitting in a Lubbock, Texas, jail and facing a po­tential death penalty for the murder of Dr. Joseph Sonnier III.

“I cannot recall a homicide case this unique, where you have a high-profile doctor hiring someone to kill someone else, especially another high-profile doctor,” said Lubbock police Capt. John Caspell.

On July 11, Sonnier, 57, the chief pathologist for Covenant Health System in Lubbock, was found shot and stabbed to death at his upscale home.

It didn’t take cops long to pint the murder on 48-year-old Dixon, who was based in Ama­rillo and well-known locally for his billboard advertisements and media appearances.

One of Son­nier’s co-workers told cops the doctor had com­plained that “his girlfriend’s ex-boy­friend would not leave her alone,” according to a po­lice document. And Dixon’s former business partner told authorities that the doctor had an explosive tem­per.

When investigators spoke to Sonnier’s girlfriend – whom they haven’t named – she told them that Dixon had continued to contact her despite the fact that she was dating Sonnier.

Cops allege that Dixon gave 51-year-old David Shepard, a one-time medical sales rep who was mired in debt, three silver bars, each worth $3,000, to kill Sonnier.

They say Shepard, who has a criminal past, staked out Sonnier’s home and then, when the doctor was alone, broke a window, climbed in and murdered him. A maid discovered the body.

Shepard allegedly admitted committing the murder to a roommate and was so distraught he tried to com­mit suicide by cutting his wrists a day or two after the killing. According to police, Dixon sewed up Shepa­rd’s wounds, told him to calm down and suggested he get out of town for a couple of weeks. But by then it was too late – cops were about to make their move.

On July 16, Dixon was arrested and booked into jail wearing shackles, a T-shirt and shorts. Incredibly, his mug shot shows him smiling at the camera.

At this point, the girlfriend is not a suspect in Son­nier’s death.

“She’s been cooperative,” said Capt. Caspell. “Obvi­ously she’s been somewhat victimized in all of this. We do not suspect her in any way, shape or form.”

Although the high-profile crime involved two prom­inent doctors, Capt. Caspell notes that the motive was simple, saying: “It simply just boils down to a dispute over a girl.”