Justin Love sentenced to life in prison
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - A Wichita County jury sentenced Justin Love to life in prison on Friday after finding him guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity - murder on Thursday.
The defense had asked jury to consider 15-20 years.
During closing arguments, Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie argued that Love had chances to change and never did, and that he was the one who ordered Co-defendant Blayne Brooks to pull the trigger. Gillespie then told the jury that Love did not value Thrasher’s life since the killing came because of $500 of weed.
The defense argued that Love’s chaotic upbringing carried on into adulthood. They also said he constantly felt abandoned.
The sentence is the final chapter in a case that’s spanned over seven years. Love was tried and convicted for the June 2015 murder of Domanic Thrasher in December of 2018. The Second Court of Appeals of Fort Worth overturned Love’s murder charge in March of 2020. He was then given a new trial with a district court, but filed paperwork in January 2022 asking the court upon its own motion change the venue to another district because of “prejudicial pretrial publicity,” among other reasons. The appeal was denied.
Love was also arrested on two counts of aggravated perjury in November of 2020, with the charges dating back to the 2018 murder trial. He has been held without bond in the Wichita County Jail since January of 2021.
21-year-old Domanic Thrasher was shot and killed on June 2, 2015. Police reports initially said Thrasher was walking near the intersection of Yuma and Gunnison when he was struck by several gunshots from a dark-colored SUV. Prosecutors later alleged Thrasher, a former Rider High School football star, was killed during a drug deal.
Love, then 26, was served a murder warrant in August of 2015. At the time, he was in custody in Colorado Springs, CO, for a parole investigation. Brooks, then 20, and Whitney O’Brien, then 19, were also charged in connection with the murder.
Co-defendant Brooks was reportedly the shooter, but prosecutors and witnesses testified that Love ordered Brooks to shoot Thrasher after he took off running with marijuana during a drug exchange.
Brooks was sentenced to 60 years in prison in November of 2016 for the murder, while the third co-defendant, Whitney O’Brien, took a plea deal and was given 15 years for manslaughter. O’Brien also testified against Love and Brooks during their trials.
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