WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — An appeal to grant Justin Michael Love a new trial and a reduced sentence for the 2015 murder of Domanic Thrasher was heard on Thursday in the 30th District Court.

Judge Bob Brotherton presided over the hearing that began at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 11, 2022.

Love, 33, was found guilty in his retrial for the 2015 murder of Dominic Thrasher in a drug deal gone bad.

The jury gave him a life sentence, compared to the 50-year sentence he received in his first trial, which was overturned on appeals.

Defense Attorney James Rasmussen claims the jury that found Love guilty was misguided by the state’s charge. He argued the State must show that Love intended to promote or assist in Thrasher’s murder.

Rasmussen said the structural errors in the charge prevented the jury from deciding on intent and affected the framework of the trial, and due to those errors, the law was not applied to the facts, and the court should at least grant Love a new trial.

Kyle Lessor, Wichita County’s Assistant District Attorney, argued on behalf of the State of Texas that common sense would have allowed the jury to interpret the charge correctly and that there’s no way in the real world the jury was misled.

In addition, Rasmussen asked the court to reform Love’s sentence of life in prison to a 50=year sentence, which was the original sentence a jury returned to Love during his first trial. He argued that a harsher sentence from a second trial following a successful appeal violates Love’s constitutional rights.

Lessor countered, saying that limitations on harsher sentences don’t apply to Love due to additional misconduct by Love between the two trials. Lessor referenced the harassment charge against Love from January 2022, saying this conduct sheds light on Love’s character.

No decision was made today, but Judge Brotherton told the court his answer will come by noon on Friday, August 12.

Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates following Judge Brotherton’s decision on Friday, August 12.