HOUSTON – Attorneys for a Bellaire teen accused of murdering his parents continue pushing for the dismissal of all charges.
Defense attorneys claim prosecutors withheld evidence that could have been crucial information to their claim a husband and wife were killed by an intruder and not their son.
In 2016, former NFL player Antonio Armstrong and his wife, Dawn, were shot to death in their bed at their home in Bellaire. The couple’s son, Antonio Armstrong Jr., dialed 911 the morning of the murders and reported he was hiding in a closet and heard gunshots coming from his parents’ bedroom.
Five months after the murders, court records show, Maxine Adams brought what she thought was pertinent information to Houston Police. Court records show Adams told an HPD officer she believed her now ex-husband and Armstrong Sr., a close friend, were involved in a prostitution ring and receiving death threats.
Houston police recorded the nearly 13-minute long statement, which included talk of phone and computer records Adams believed further fueled her suspicions. Attorney Rick DeToto claims prosecutors withheld that recording from the defense team for 18 months.
“It's a theme in this case. They don't like evidence that comes in and points away to someone else,” said DeToto.
A hearing was held Monday regarding the 2016 report Adams made to HPD. Adams testified she no longer has the records she talked to police about, doesn't recall the name of a private investigator she hired and stopped pursuing the matter after her divorce.
"I stopped looking, I stopped engaging, I just let it go," she testified.
DeToto argues had he received this information 18 months ago, it could have helped support the claim the couple was murdered by an intruder. He argues Monday’s testimony further bolsters his claim the charges against Antonio Armstrong Jr. should be dismissed.
“Because of the 18-month withholding of this evidence, we cannot recover from that,” DeToto said. “In our mind we believe that has caused harm to this young man and we don't believe he can get a fair trial.”
DeToto said the delay robbed the defense of the chance to independently investigate Adams’ suspicions. Prosecutors declined to comment following the hearing.
Armstrong Jr. was 16 when he was charged with capital murder and he has been certified to stand trial as an adult. Prosecutors rejected his claims of an intruder.
Court records read prosecutors state Armstrong Jr. never mentioned an intruder during his 13-minute long call with a 911 operator and there were no signs of forced entry to the home when officers arrived and no was seen leaving the house.
Prosecutors further claimed they believe Armstrong Jr. intentionally placed a .22 caliber pistol and note in the kitchen as a way to try to mislead investigators.
Court records show the note read, “I have been watching for a long time. Get me.”