WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — As he was being escorted out of the 30th District Court on Friday, June 24, after receiving a life sentence for the murder of Domanic Thrasher, Justin Michael Love said, “we’ll do like we did last time and we’ll appeal.”
True to his word, Love has indeed appealed his second conviction for murder.
Court documents indicate the motion for a new trial is set to be heard on Thursday, August 11, 2022, at 3:30 p.m. in the 30th District Court.
Love, 33, was found guilty in his retrial for the 2015 murder of Dominic Thrasher in a drug deal gone bad.
Love’s public defenders have also filed a motion to have that life sentence converted to a 50-year sentence because of an alleged defective indictment.
Love’s attorneys maintain that the indictment of engaging in organized criminal activity-murder alleges while committing a felony of delivery of marijuana he caused the death of Domanic Thrasher by shooting a firearm.
However, they say since Blayne Brooks fired the gun, not Love, that indictment is faulty. They say the court misdirected the jury on the law.
The defense argues that to incorporate murder into Love’s indictment the State must show Love had the intent to promote or assist in a murder. They also say inadmissible evidence was introduced over the objection of defense attorneys and further instruction to limit aspects of the evidence only misled the jury, resulting in Love’s right to due process being denied.
During his first and second trials, Love never denied he was at the murder scene and involved in a marijuana transport and sale operation. However, he says he never told Brooks to shoot Thrasher, or intended it to happen. That is contrary to what codefendant Whitney O’Brien testified happened.
Prosecutors argued Love was the instigator of the events that led to the shooting and had a big influence on Brooks’ actions.
Love’s second jury deliberated only about an hour or less before returning their verdict of life in prison.
With the life sentence he received in his first trial, Love could become eligible for parole in 40 years. With a 50-year sentence, he could become eligible after serving half the sentence, in 2046.
Love is now being held in the Byrd prison unit in Huntsville.