HOUSTON – It’s the second week of Antonio Armstrong Jr.’s third capital murder trial.
So far, we’ve heard from over 21 witnesses in the case where AJ is accused of murdering his parents, Antonio Sr. and Dawn, in 2016.
KPRC 2 will be live daily inside the courtroom and will document new details, along with everything you should know.
Aug. 10 - 5:00 p.m.
The entire ninth day of the trial was spent analyzing Antonio Armstrong Jr.’s brother Josh’s mental health.
Court will resume Friday at 9 a.m.
Aug. 10 - 8:55 a.m.
The state’s final witness, Dr. Ian Lamourbux, a forensic psychologist, is called to the stand.
Lamourbux was hired by the state to look at the several files and pieces of evidence in the Armstrong case, including crime scene photos, homicide interviews, medical records, and text messages.
A lot of Lamourbux’s testimony was focused on Josh’s mental health. Lamourbux said he reviewed text messages between Dawn and Josh, which showed they leaned on one another a lot for emotional support. He said Dawn’s and Josh’s relationship was very close and he supported his mother through her rough patch with AJ.
Lamourbux said the opposite of Dawn’s and AJ’s relationship during his testimony. He said AJ seemed to be very manipulative, dismissive and showed no empathy in the text thread with his mother.
Lamourbux also discussed in detail Josh’s medical history, which he says started, from his knowledge, after July 29, 2016, when both his parents were murdered.
Josh was admitted to Ben Taub Hospital in December 2016, six months after his parent’s murder. He voluntarily went after consulting with his grandparents. Josh’s reason for being admitted, according to the medical records, was due to the death of his parents. During this visit, he told doctors that he was paranoid, depressed, and anxious. He also admitted to using alcohol and drugs to cope.
Several months later, in January 2018, Josh went to a psychiatric hospital because he said he “feared the killer was out there and he would be next.” During this appointment, Josh was showing signs of schizophrenia. He reportedly told doctors that he was experiencing thoughts of “wanting to kill someone.”
A month or so later, Josh was admitted to UT Health after experiencing symptoms related to schizophrenia. He told doctors a woman was in his head who he wanted to hurt. Before he was admitted, Josh said he put a towel in the oven at his grandparents’ residence and lit it on fire to “freshen up the house.” Lamourbux said Josh’s schizophrenia symptoms were possibly induced by his use of marijuana.
When the prosecutors compared Josh’s fire incident to when AJ was caught playing with matches, Lamourbux said Josh was experiencing a mental episode while AJ produced signs of “homicidal intent” because he knowingly tried to set a fire on the second floor of his home, intentionally blocking people from escaping.
During the UT Health visit, Josh also admitted to suicidal thoughts, saying the only reason he wanted to live was because of his brother and sister.
In March 2018, Josh’s mental health started to significantly decline and he was taken to the Westpark Springs Hospital. During this visit, records show Josh refused to answer multiple questions, was aggressive, attacked family members while at home, called his relatives satan, got off his prescription medication, ignored his hygiene, and appeared to be talking to voices in his head. Also, it was noted that Josh said he witnessed his parents’ murder or was there when his parents were murdered.
All in all, Lamourbux said Josh’s behavior was consistent with being depressed and not knowing how to cope with the death of his parents. He said multiple times that he does not believe Josh’s behavior was that of someone who killed their parents.
In the defense’s cross-examination, several references to “religious delusions” were displayed to the jury, in which hospitals reported Josh making references to sacrificing animals for the bible, calling out God or the devil, and making statements like “I am the brother of Jesus Christ” and “Respect your king. I have been ordained.”
Aug. 10 - 8:45 a.m.
The jury enters the courtroom.
Aug. 10 - 8:35 a.m.
Judge Kelli Johnson enters the courtroom room. Court is called into order.
Get a full recap of each day with the Click2Houston.com trial blogs: