WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A jury of nine women and three men on Thursday afternoon reached a verdict in the retrial of Justin Love for the 2015 murder of Domanic Thrasher.
Shortly before 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23, 2022, in the 30th District Court, the jury found Justin Michael Love, 33, of Wichita Falls, guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity – murder.
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie and Love’s defense attorney Mark Barber presented their closing arguments around noon before turning the decision over to the jury to begin deliberation around 1 p.m.
The jury deliberated for about two hours, according to court officials.
As was the case in his first murder trial, Love opted to have the jury set his punishment, and they began the process on Thursday afternoon after reaching a verdict.
During the beginning of the punishment phase, Love’s prior juvenile record was introduced to the court, as were harassing phone calls made to Love’s ex-wife.
Tamika Thrasher, Domanic’s mother, gave a tearful testimony before the court Thursday afternoon.
The punishment phase of the trial will resume Friday, June 24, and Gillespie said the trial could wrap up as early as Friday afternoon.
This would end Love’s trial much earlier than some court officials originally anticipated, saying just one week ago the trial could last for at least another month.
Dozens of witnesses testified in Love’s retrial, including the two people already convicted in connection with the 2015 shooting death of Domanic Thrasher in a marijuana deal gone bad.
Court officials said much of the testimony provided in Love’s trial was re-entering evidence and re-establishing the groundwork upon which the prosecution built their case.
Whitney O’Brien, who was the third person originally charged with Thrasher’s murder, took the stand and testified against Love once again.
O’Brien took a plea deal and was sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter. She made parole in 2020.
Initially, Love was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his alleged role in the events of June 2, 2015.
His December 2018 conviction was overturned on appeals, and he’s been jailed since January 2021 after Judge Bob Brotherton ordered him to be held without bond.
Love has maintained since his original conviction that he never intended for anyone to get hurt during the drug deal gone bad that ultimately ended Thrasher’s life.