5 Things to know about the start of AJ Armstrong’s third murder trial

HOUSTON – It’s official. A jury will begin hearing the case against Antonio Armstrong Jr. Monday.

It’s the third time Harris County prosecutors are bringing him to trial.

The case has captured media attention from around the world because the previous two trials ended in a hung jury.

Here is what you can expect to see on Monday.

‘The Bench’

KPRC 2 Investigates is taking an innovative, multi-platform approach to covering the third murder trial of Armstrong Jr. to help lay person trial watchers understand the intricacies of the investigation and why this is a critical legal case.

‘The Bench’ coverage begins on KPRC 2+ Now at 8 a.m. in front of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. Our team will break down what you can expect during opening statements, what we learned about the jurors, and how tactics will change during the trial.

Watch ‘The Bench’ in the KPRC 2+ livestream player below:

Cameras in the courtroom?

Antonio Armstrong Jr. before facing the third criminal trial against him. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Cameras may be filling the hallways of the 19th floor in the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, but they won’t be in the courtroom.

Judge Kelli Johnson is trying to limit the potential exposure of media coverage surrounding the trial.

Reporters will go “old school,” using pens and notepads to take down notes and report daily proceedings.

If you are going to the trial, we recommend not bringing your phone. An order is in place to prevent any electronic messaging or videos from inside the courtroom.

The Armstrong Family

Jury selection will begin next month for AJ Armstrong's third trial

Before the trial begins, Armstrong Jr. will more than likely be escorted to the courtroom by his three grandparents, wife, and family.

For seven straight years, the family has unwaveringly stood beside him.

Opening Statements

“No, thank you.”

Antonio Armstrong Jr.'s lawyer Rick DeToto thanking the family during his second trial opening statements. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

You’ve seen Rick DeToto do it before in previous trials during opening statements, a gesture followed with “Armstrong family, thank you for your trust.”

In the third trial against Armstrong, DeToto won’t be able to acknowledge the Armstrong family in the same fashion as he once did.

Judge Johnson, siding with Harris County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Trask, said that the gesture is out of place and DeToto won’t be able to do it during opening statements.

The Armstrong’s Alarm System

Armstrong 2016 Crime Scene (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Prosecutors and Armstrong Jr.’s defense team will each have 45 minutes to share what they think the evidence proves during opening statements. At the heart of their statements will be the Armstrong household alarm system. The system never tripped that early July morning in 2016, but, could someone with knowledge maneuver around it?

AJ’s Brother, Josh Armstrong

Josh Armstrong (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

There will be an argument Armstrong Jr.’s estranged half-brother was the killer. The family says Josh Armstrong suffers from mental health issues and knew how the family alarm system worked. He was at the crime scene the night of the killings and only lived a few blocks away.

The trial against Armstrong Jr. will begin at 10:30 a.m.


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About the Author:

As an Emmy award-winning journalist, Jason strives to serve the community by telling in-depth stories and taking on challenges many pass over. When he’s not working, he’s spending time with his girlfriend Rosie, and dog named Dug.