Prosecutors lose 22 items of evidence in AJ Armstrong case ahead of March 27 retrial: Attorneys


This story was edited on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, to retract a statement from the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

HOUSTON – The retrial for Antonio “AJ” Armstrong Jr., the teen accused of killing his parents in 2016, is now scheduled for March.

Antonio Armstrong Jr.'s retrial was slated to begin Monday, but it was delayed.

In July 2016, when Armstrong Jr. was 16 years old, he was accused of shooting his parents Dawn and Antonio Sr. while they were asleep in their home in the 5300 block of Palmetto Street in southwest Houston. Armstrong was charged with capital murder.

Armstrong Jr. has maintained his innocence over the years, saying there was a masked person in the home who committed the murders. His defense team supported his claim, alleging that Houston police rushed to zero in on the teenager before conducting a thorough investigation of the couple’s deaths. The prosecution maintained that Armstrong Jr. was a convincing liar who killed his parents because he was angry with them for multiple reasons.

After weeks of testimony in April, and more than 19 hours of deliberation, the jury said they could not reach a unanimous verdict in Armstrong Jr.'s case. In capital murder cases, it is required that the jury bring a unanimous verdict. He was released on bond but was required to wear an ankle monitor.

Armstrong Jr.'s attorneys told KPRC 2 that prosecutors lost an entire bag of evidence. They said the bag contained 22 items, including Armstrong Jr.'s cellphone.

Prosecutors initially said Armstrong’s defense attorneys were “lying” and told KPRC 2 that no evidence in the case was lost.

The District Attorney’s Office later retracted its statement, saying, “The Harris County District Attorney’s Office should not have characterized the Armstrong defense lawyers as ‘lying’ in that email message. This Office retracts its statement that the Armstrong defense lawyers were ‘lying.’”

The DA’s office did not clarify in its retracted statement whether the evidence was lost.

Now what’s notable in this retrial date, is the same judge who is assigned the sentencing for David Temple, is also assigned the Armstrong Jr. case. Temple was found guilty of murdering his wife at their home in Katy.

Temple’s sentencing and Armstrong Jr.'s retrial are scheduled for the same day.

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