A jury of nine women and three men sentenced Justin Michael Love, 33, of Wichita Falls, to life in prison for his role in Thrasher’s murder.
The prosecution led by Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie argued that Thrasher paid for his mistakes with his life and that Love should have to do the same.
The jury deliberated for a little over an hour before handing down their suggested sentence on Friday, June 24, 2022.
Love was found guilty by the jury of engaging in organized criminal activity – murder on Thursday, June 23, 2022, after about two hours of deliberation.
Love’s retrial came after 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.
As was the case in his first trial, Love opted to have the jury set his punishment. Before his conviction was overturned, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Before the jury began deliberating, Love’s defense attorney Mark Barber argued that it was Love’s passenger, Blayne Brooks, who shot and killed Thrasher, and Love shouldn’t be punished as harshly for someone else’s decision.
Brooks was sentenced to 60 years in prison in January of 2017. Barber asked the jury to consider a 15 to 20-year sentence for Love.
This brings Love’s retrial to a conclusion much earlier than some court officials originally anticipated, saying the trial could’ve lasted 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.
Love will be eligible for parole in 30 years.