Blayne Brooks has been found guilty of murdering Dominic Thrasher. The jury deliberated less than 45 minutes.

22 year old Brooks, 28 year old Justin Love, and 21 year old Whitney O’Brien were all charged in the murder of Thrasher during a drug deal that had gone bad in June of 2015.

In his closing argument to the jury, prosecutor Tony Bates told them they should keep in mind it was a murder during a criminal enterprise, thus Brooks faces the enhanced charge of engaging in organized criminal activity.
 
He told them to remember Thrasher was shot in the back and that  Brooks conspired with others to cover up the murder. And he reminded them that testimony showed Brooks carried a gun because drug dealers can not rely on police to protect their enterprise from thieves.
 
He told jurors  the witnesses who implicated Brooks had no motivation to lie and he pointed out Brooks begged his ex girlfriend through phone calls while in jail to give him an alibi, but she refused.
 
Blayne Brooks recorded jail phone audio: “Cause Merkle will be talking to you. He’ll be talking to my parents. He’ll be getting everything together so we can just go skull f*** that trial and get me out of here.” 
 
However, Brooks’ attorney, Greg  Merkel told jurors the state’s witnesses have no credibility. Some are drug dealers and strippers and they lied to get deals from the state.
He said the state presented no DNA evidence tying Brooks to the murder, and that the other two defendants, Whitney O’Brien or Justin Love could have shot Thrasher and the murder weapon was never found. 
 
However in final rebuttal, first assistant DA John Gilliespie told jurors all the evidence and testimony is clear that Brooks was the shooter and that the other two defendants will also be punished,  with Love to go to court next. 
 
The punishment phase starts at 9:00 am Wednesday.


These are some of the testimony highlights from the trial:
The woman charged in the Domanic Thrasher murder took the witness stand this morning to testify against co-defendant Blayne Brooks.

21 year old Whitney O’Brien said she was not promised any deals for her testimony against Brooks. She described how she set up a marijuana sale with Thrasher, and that the third defendant, Justin Love decided to come with her and Brooks because he was suspicious of Thrasher, and did not think Brooks and O’Brien were quote “scary enough” to make the deal.
 
She said she has know Brooks since she was 15 when they were at Rider High School. O’Brien said she worked as a stripper and served as the middle man for Love and Brooks on marijuana deals.
 
She said the two men made about 2 trips a week to Colorado to pick up marijuana. She said when they met Thrasher on June 2, 2015 he got in their vehicle and love handed him a bag and Thrasher jumped out and tried to run.
 
She said she  grabbed his shirt but he wiggled out  and Love yelled for Brooks to shoot him. She said Brooks fired 7 shots, and the first one spun thrasher around. The autopsy report stated Thrasher was shot 3 times.
 
After the shooting she said Brooks bragged about what difficult shot he had made. She also said Brooks was upset that Love had not fired any shots, because he would face the harshest punishment if arrested.
 
She also said Love told her he would not want to be her if she talked to police and he was arrested. She said he also warned her not to get out of the car or they’d shoot her too. 
 
After the shooting they went to Love’s home and she said the three began disposing of evidence with the help of Loves wife.

Testimony highlights today:
-O’brien  graduated from rider in 2013, met Blayne Brooks in algebra class.
-She lived with boyfriend Hayden Swaggerty and they were middle men for  drug sales and Love and Brooks who  picked it up in marijuana in Colorado, usually 4-6 pounds twice a week.
-She testified she is still dating Swaggerty.
-Marijuana and cash  was kept in safe in Justin and Tamilyn’s house. They had three children under 8 years old.
-Deal with Thrasher made  for about $500. She would get $100.
-Brooks warned Thrasher not to mess around in the deal.
-He was suspicious because Thrasher was trying to haggle on the price.
-Love drove, Brooks was in passnger seat, O’Brien was in back seat.
-When Trasher ran with the marijuana, OBien said Lve yelled “shoot him Bayne!”
-She said when she turned after picking up the weed she saw Brooks with gun in hand, but Love did not have one.
-Love became very excited and sped off running through stop signs. 
-Brooks told him to slow down and began picking up shell casings. Said Brooks groaned when Love told him he did not fire any shots at Thrasher.
-O’Brien said she asked to be let out and Love said if she got out they’d shoot her.
-She said they bragged about the difficult shots Brooks made at that angle.
-They wondered if Thrasher was still alive and said they should have gone back to make sure.
-Went to Love’s house and began plotting coverup and how to get rid of evidence .  Love’s wife Tamilyn helped them.
-They put the gun in can of paint and then planned to drop it in a lake.
-Brooks got haircut.  Picked up red hair color for O’Brien.
-They started working on alibis.  Love called his mom and told her if anyone asked to say he was home all day.
-They destroyed the phone used to make deal.
-Blayne told O’Brien he loved her.
-She told her roommates and Swaggerty what happened.
-Said she had three interviews with detectives and didn’t say what happened until the third one.
-She denied Brooks was her “sugar daddy.”