Detective testifies Armstrong Jr. was 'emotionless' in initial interview

By Cathy Hernandez - Reporter, Megan Kennedy - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - A Houston police homicide detective testified in court Thursday morning that Antonio Armstrong Jr. was emotionless during an interview after his arrest.

The investigator said the interview at the homicide offices downtown lasted about an hour on the morning of July 29, 2016.

He said Armstrong appeared to be emotionless, very calm and cooperative and not upset.

The investigator claimed Armstrong denied having any role in the crime.

Armstrong is charged with the murders of his parents, Dawn Armstrong and Antonio Armstrong Sr.

A magistrate hearing officer testified Thursday morning that she read Armstrong Jr. his Miranda rights multiple times after his arrest.

As evidence, prosecutors showed a form Armstrong Jr. apparently signed during the meeting, agreeing he understood his rights.

Prosecutors played a recording of the meeting, in which Armstrong Jr. is heard asking the hearing officer how his father was doing and said he was being kept out of the loop about what was going on.

More testimony came from a Houston police officer who responded to the scene, where his role was to hold the perimeter.

The officer testified he made a “mistake” when he told prosecutors he heard Armstrong Jr. say there was a masked intruder inside the house at the time of the shooting.

Instead, the officer claimed he heard other officers at the scene talking about it.

A detective took the stand Wednesday afternoon, saying something the defense said he wasn't supposed to. The detective said that a crack pipe had been found in the Armstrong's bedroom, but testing at the time proved that claim to be false and there were no drugs in or on the item.

Because that item was considered wrong an inconsequential, a pre-trial agreement ruled that the item should not be mentioned in trial. 

The mention of the item enraged the defense, who asked the judge to declare a mistrial. The judge even took a step away from the bench to consider the ruling, but ultimately decided not to.

Instead, she ordered the jury to strike that information from their testimony notes as it's erroneous information. 

"We're seeing HPD  has problems following the rules. They're violating court orders and putting stuff in front of the jury that's not supposed to be there. So, not only are we fighting their allegations, we're also fighting their dirty conduct," said defense attorney Rick DeToto. 

The trial is expected to last a month.

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