HOUSTON – Antonio “A.J.” Armstrong Jr., the man accused of killing his parents in 2016, will be tried again next year, according to his legal team.
In October, during the second trial, a judge ruled a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict in the capital murder case.
The first mistrial was declared in 2019 because, after three days of deliberation, the jury back then could not reach a unanimous decision. Eight jurors believed A.J. was guilty, but four jurors voted not guilty.
Prosecutors said A.J. fatally shot his mother, Dawn, and father, former NFL player Antonio Armstrong Sr., as the couple slept at their southwest Houston home in the 5300 block of Palmetto Street on July 28, 2016.
A.J. said there was a masked person in the house, according to audio of the 911 call he made to the police. Prosecutors said his claims were all a lie.
Prosecutors intended to show that A.J. was embroiled in conflict with his parents over failing grades and poor behavior. They said that the murders were committed by someone who was already inside the home, claiming that neither the burglar alarm system nor any other evidence showed signs of forced entry.
The second trial was a back-and-forth of presenting new evidence and an alternative suspect, A.J.’s older brother Joshua, who defense attorneys said could be the actual killer. Joshua was said to be the “black sheep” of the family and was 19 years old at the time. He was also not Antonio Armstrong Sr.’s biological son.
A.J.’s defense team alleges Houston police hastily zeroed in on him before conducting a thorough investigation of the murder scene.
The third trial is set to take place on Feb. 24, 2023, according to A.J.’s legal team.
A.J’s legal team sent in the following statement:
“It has been six years, two trials, hundreds of investigative hours, countless witnesses, no evidence and, more importantly, 12 jurors who believed A.J. was not guilty. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has lost evidence and the Houston Police Department has refused to fully and fairly investigate this case. The District Attorney has sent her best prosecutors with their best arguments and they failed, both times, to convince a jury. All of A.J.’s family supports him and believes in his innocence yet the state continues to persecute A.J.. While we are disappointed in the decision, we look forward to presenting the evidence to a third jury proving that A.J. is innocent of this crime. We will not stop fighting for A.J. -Rick DeToto”
Dane Schiller with the District Attorney’s Office sent in the following statement:
“Two people were murdered in the night, each shot as they slept in their own bed; we will continue our fight for justice and we look forward to presenting all the evidence to jurors.”