17 potential jurors advance in AJ Armstrong re-trial

17 potential jurors advance in AJ Armstrong re-trial

HOUSTON – 17 potential jurors in the Antonio “AJ” Armstrong re-trial made it through the first week of jury selection after individual questioning from prosecutors and Armstrong’s attorneys.

The court needs to hear from six remaining people from the first panel of potential jurors. They will speak with them Monday, May 8.

Of the 29 prospective jurors interviewed this week, they ranged in age with more women interviewed.

The voir dire process started Tuesday with the first potential juror stating she’s a fan of true crime shows like First 48 and Criminal Minds.

She told attorneys that she was aware of the case and can be objective and “open minded.”

Two people were excused from jury selection Tuesday. One person was released after saying he “wouldn’t feel comfortable” with convicting someone in a capital murder case, sending them life in prison without parole for 40 years. The other person said, “it’s terrifying to sit in judgement of another human being.”

On Wednesday one juror, who is moving forward, brought up District Attorney Kim Ogg and she wasn’t “a fan” because she believed Harris County is “way too soft on crime.” She added she can be impartial and doesn’t put law enforcement above others but tries “to be middle of the road.”

The same day, the judge had to step in to make sure one prospective juror, who has read the case, can separate what he learned from prior cases with whatever evidence is presented if he is chosen.

“I need you to commit to an answer, right now,” Judge Kelli Johnson told the I.T. consultant. He affirmed, “I will keep separate evidence presented in the court case from what I’ve read.”

Four people were excused, back-to-back, from possibly serving Thursday morning. The first man of the day said he concluded, in his mind, Armstrong was guilty, and he could not be impartial. He said, “it’s not the accused. It’s he killed his parents.”

Investigators accuse Armstrong, then 16, of killing his parents Dawn and Antonio Sr. in their southwest Houston home in 2016. He has maintained his innocence through two trials.

Another panel of roughly 60 people are summoned to court Tuesday morning where the court will continue trying to get a group of potential jurors; this group and the original panel will all return Wednesday, May 31 when the official jurors will be chosen. Trial is set to begin June 5.

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