WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The state began laying the foundation of its case against accused murderer Justin Love Wednesday in the 30th District Court.
Love is again being tried for the 2015 murder of Domanic Thrasher after his original conviction and 50-year prison sentence were overturned.
Retired 30th District Court Judge Bob Brotherton presided over the hearing Wednesday, June 8, 2022.
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie and his assistants called several witnesses to the stand from the Wichita Falls Police Department.
A WFPD patrol officer was called to the stand and recounted the day of Thrasher’s shooting death on June 2, 2015 to a jury of nine women and three men.
The officer said he arrived at the crime scene after AMR and first responders had arrived, and a resident living down the street from the scene said she had footage from her front porch that may show cars driving into the area.
The officer maintained the suspect or suspects who shot Thrasher would have to pass the house in order to get to the scene of the shooting.
The state then called a crime scene technician who responded to the scene as well, but first gathered evidence from Thrasher after he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Photos taken of Thrasher at United Regional moments after he died were shown to the courtroom, revealing at least four gunshot wounds.
Brooks, who is serving a 60-year prison term at the Byrd Unit in Huntsville after a jury found him guilty in Thrasher’s murder, has been brought back to Wichita County on a bench warrant to possibly testify.
Also called to the stand today was a retired WFPD detective who served as the lead investigator in Thrasher’s murder. The detective described to the jury how they were quickly able to eliminate several individuals named on social media as suspects.
However, according to the detective, a comment on a local news outlet’s Facebook post on the murder named Love, Brooks, and O’Brien as suspects.
According to the detective, a data search on Thrasher’s phone revealed a series of text messages between Thrasher and another person that seemed to be setting up a narcotics purchase.
A later search of the phone would reveal at least one other deal between Thrasher and this person, who would later be identified as O’Brien’s boyfriend.
The detective said text messages also indicated Thrasher would be paying over $500 for the drugs.
A cryptic and threatening text message sent just 15 minutes before Thrasher’s murder told him “Don’t f*** around, my plug don’t play.”
The full text message conversation read in court during testimonies Wednesday can be found in a recreated format to the right.
The detective said footage obtained at the scene on the day of the murder would later identify a Suburban entering the area just moments before the fatal shooting.
The Suburban would later be traced back to Love, and a search would reveal signs that rounds from a firearm were discharged inside the vehicle.
In late July 2015, while conducting a search warrant on O’Brien’s apartment, her roommate would eventually give police key information that lead to Love, Brooks, and O’Brien’s murder charges.
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.
O’Brien, who took a plea deal for manslaughter, said in Love’s previous trial he in fact yelled at Brooks to shoot Thrasher.