Love seeks hiring of his ex-defense lawyer

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Justin Michael love

A Wichita Falls man awaiting a new murder trial related to Domanic Thrasher’s assassination wants a judge to appoint his ex-defense attorney, who was disqualified before the first trial began, to represent him again, according to court records.

In another development in the Justin Michael Love murder case, a higher court has rejected the prosecutor’s attempt to reopen a trial.

Love, 31, has asked Mark Barber of Wichita Falls to be named co-counsel on June 2, 2015, to his retrial to shoot the death of the former Rider High School football star.

Love is represented by the Wichita County’s Public Defender’s Office, and Barber has agreed to the appointment according to the motion filed on Wednesday.

According to online prison records, Love was free from Wichita County Jail on Wednesday and had a total of $ 565,000 in bonds.

Attorney Mark Barber was a 2009 District Attorney candidate for Wichita.

He is filing his request for consultation before Judge Bob Brotherton, the same judge who disqualified Barber as Love’s attorney on May 30, 2017, according to court records.

Barber’s disqualification resulted in Love winning his conviction overturned by a Fort Worth appeals court on March 26, the court said.

The disqualification by Brotherton, who has since retired as a judge in the 30th district, took place at the urging of the prosecutor, according to court files.

Justin Love testifies during his trial in the 30th District Court, as shown in this December 12, 2018 file photo.  Love is one of three people charged in the June 2015 murder of Domanic Thrasher.

Prosecutors accused Barber of violating the law when he gave Love’s wife a DVD of state evidence that she could see for herself instead of checking the redacted files at the defense attorney’s office.

In making his decision, Brotherton noted that Barber’s actions likely put him in the forbidden dual roles of both witness and advocate for love.

Barber created an unacceptable conflict of interest between him and Love that, according to Brotherton, led to his disqualification.

But the situation in Love’s case did not fit a precedent for disqualifying attorneys in such situations, the appeals court found.

And the appeals court found that Love of Barber’s dismissal as attorney had violated the murder accused’s constitutional right to an attorney.

On October 21, the Austin Texas Court of Appeals declined review of Love’s appeal, according to court records.

Wichita District Attorney John Gillespie called on the Supreme Court to overturn the Fort Worth Court ruling, which according to court records would have resulted in Love’s conviction being upheld.

Review of the case was at the sole discretion of the Austin Supreme Court.

In any case, Brotherton has re-led Love’s case since 30th District Judge Jeff McKnight himself retired.

Brotherton was also on the bench for Love’s murder trial in November and December 2018.

For another request from Love, a hearing on Zoom is scheduled for Friday at 9:00 a.m., according to court records.

Love wants a change in his liability terms regarding his curfew so that he can work the day shift at his new job, according to court records.

Love asks Brotherton to change his curfew so that he can be away from home from 5 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. This is evident from a motion filed in the 30th District Court on Monday, November 30th.

Rider's Domanic Thrasher (8) reacts after the Raiders defeated Frenship during the Region I-4A final at Memorial Stadium on December 8, 2012.

According to court records, he was hired at a local factory to do shift work from 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

As of the current state of his curfew, court records indicate that under no circumstances should he be away from his grandmother’s apartment between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. every day.

On December 17, 2018, Love was convicted of organized criminal murder.

According to court records, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the death of Domanic Thrasher in a drug trade.

Love is one of the three people charged in connection with the murder.

Blayne William Brooks, the now 26-year-old Trigger man, is sentenced to 60 years in prison for engaging in organized criminal activities, according to court records.

Blayne William Brooks reacts to the jury's 60-year detention decision for the murder of Domanic Thrasher on June 2, 2015, as shown in this November 30, 2016 file photo.

Whitney Mercedes O’Brien, 25, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and was released on September 3, according to court records.

In a Facebook update posted on his personal page on October 14th, Love Domanic criticized Thrasher’s mother after expressing disappointment that the man she believed murdered her son was had been released from prison.

Love claimed he was innocent and that she hadn’t really shown his family sympathy.

Tamika Thrasher-Bradley’s reaction? She said love was “a real clown” when he thought she should put herself in his family’s shoes.

She also said she had alleviated the tragic events surrounding her son’s death and difficult days in court. She asked for prayers.

Whitney O'Brien

Love’s Facebook page was not publicly searched on Wednesday.

According to court records, he was also charged with two cases of grave perjury related to his testimony in his own defense during his 2018 murder trial.

Love is accused of lying to jurors when he told them he didn’t look into Brooks or told him to shoot Domanic Thrasher, according to court records.

He is also being charged with possession of marijuana in connection with a November 10, 2015 incident, court records show.

More:Indictment: Love injured itself by refusing to play the role of dealer and asking Brooks to shoot Thrasher

More:Love: ‘God has blessed me because he knows I had nothing to do with it other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time’

More:Justin Love is free and awaits another murder trial in the death of Domanic Thrasher

More:Barber as Justin Love’s lawyer in the murder trial

Trish Choate, Enterprise Watchdog Reporter for Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics, and more. Contact Trish with the latest at tchoate@gannett.com. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.

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