Antonio Armstrong Jr.’s third capital murder trial: Inside Day 10 as sister takes stand

The state has rested their case and now it’s the defense’s turn.

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. 11 - 9:30 a.m.

Prosecutors rested on the 10th day of the Antonio ‘AJ’ Armstrong trial.

Aug. 11 - 9:32 am

The first witness the defense called was Antonio Sr.’s sister, Donshika Deyon. She gave the jury some insight into who he was.

Deyon shared her brother gave her his first gym to open a dance studio to begin her own business.

She told the jury Antonio Sr. took over a father role because their dad died while they were both young.

Deyon said he was the man who walked her down the aisle when she got married.

Aug. 11 - 9:44 am

Kay Winston was the 29th witness called in the trial. Winton is Antonio Sr.’s mother.

She told the jury she had Antonio Sr. when she was 15 years old. She had two other children and raised her deceased husband’s five children.

Winston said Antonio Sr. went to Kashmere High School before going to Texas A&M, and eventually the NFL.

“I didn’t miss one football game. I was his biggest cheerleader,” she said.

Winston told the jury her son met Dawn at one of their church services. Antonio Sr. was an assistant pastor at their church. Dawn would become the president of the children’s ministries.

“They were both very active in the church,” she said. “This has been one of the worst things in my life to lose my son and beautiful daughter-in-law.”

The defense switched gears to talk about the Armstrong children, starting with Josh.

“Josh was a sweet kid. He forgot a lot and lost a lot. He was smart, was a sweet kid,” Winston said.

“My son adopted him and treated him like his own child. No one would have known the difference,” she added.

With AJ, she said he was a “sweet loving kid, always hugging and kissing, smart and very competitive in sports.”

Prosecutors objected before she could begin talking about the Armstrongs’ daughter, Kayra.

She told the jury, “We are a very close-knit family. We saw each other three or four times a week.”

When it came to the Armstrong family home, Winston said, “I was very familiar with their home. We did everything together.”

We first heard about a party at the Armstrong home when Josh’s ex-girlfriend Hannah Pilon testified.

Today, Winston clarified what she saw that day.

She said she saw alcohol, drugs, and people throughout the house.

“Joshua knew he wasn’t supposed to be doing that,” she added. “I got everyone out.”

Winston is beginning to talk about the night of the murders. We will have an update during the next courtroom break.

Aug. 11 - 10 a.m.

The state has rested, so it’s now the defense’s turn to make its case.

Aug. 11 - 12 p.m.

After a break, Winston continued her testimony with defense attorney Chris Collings discussing the fire AJ set inside the home.

“Antonio [Sr.] was the one who put the fire out, and we had bible study that night,” she told him.

When asked if AJ was punished for the fire, she said, “He wasn’t punished for it.”

Collings asked her if she knew about the gun being fired in AJ’s room and if AJ was punished for it. She replied, “No he was not.”

They then talked about the night of the murders. Winston sat with daughter Kayra in the police car that night.

“She had bags on her hands. She couldn’t believe her mom was dead and her dad was shot.”

She said the two prayed and she tried to console her granddaughter until she went with her other grandparents.

When asked about Josh Armstrong that night, she said he was standing there when she saw him, and he was in a deep stare.

Josh and his cousin Trenton Teamer took her to the hospital to see Antonio Sr.

Winston said it was the last time she saw Josh until the parents’ funerals in August 2016.

Josh would come back to live with Winston and the family sometime in 2017.

While living with her, she said he took a kitchen towel with matches on it and put it in the oven.

“He just stood there and stared,” she added. “He wasn’t his self. He wasn’t moving.”

She said one of her daughters got the fire out. After that, she purchased cameras for inside the home because she was concerned about safety.

When asked if she was there to tell the jury AJ was a perfect kid, she replied, “Absolutely not.”

Upon cross-examination, prosecutor John Jordan asked about the fire in the home, saying, “He did it, and he thought he was cleansing the house?”

Winston respond, “No.”

Jordan then asked about Josh showing signs of mental health problems, alluding to schizophrenia in 2016. Winston told him, “Not these particular ones.”

He then asked about Josh living inside the home. The two went back and forth over the dates Josh moved in, and what he had in the room.

She mentioned he had clothing, an iPad, and a TV.

Jordan was quick to ask, “Are you aware there was a search on that iPad?”

She replied, “No, I am not.”

Aug. 11 -12:42 p.m.

The next witness called was Antonio Armstrong Jr.’s defense and pass coach Theadis Reagins.

He was called as a character witness.

While at Lamar High School, AJ played as a wide receiver and defensive back.

Reagins testified about the father and son interactions.

“I witnessed him being very respectful to his parents,” Reagins said.

Aug. 11 -12:48 p.m.

Houston Dr. Mark Moeller, a clinical psychiatrist and forensic psychiatrist, was called to testify about Josh Armstrong’s medical records.

Before they could get into the records, the judge called a lunch break.

Court will resume at 1:45 p.m.

Aug. 11 -5:27 p.m. (Here’s the latest information we have received from the courtroom)

The judge told the jury they should plan on packing a bag.

All signs indicate the defense will wrap up their side of the case on Monday.

It’s not clear if both sides will give their closing arguments Monday or if it will happen on Tuesday morning.

Before all that happened, AJ’s sister Kayra Armstrong sister testified.

She says she set the alarm the night her parents were murdered.

Kayra said AJ was “urgent, frantic, excited” after he woke her up and rushed her down the stairs.

She then remembers standing at the end of the driveway with AJ until officers put them into separate patrol cars.

Kayra recalls being “hysterical” in the patrol car until her grandmother Kay came to her side.

Prosecutors didn’t ask her much of anything during her cross.

Court ending the day with her testimony.

A look ahead to next week

On Monday morning the defense’s forensic psychiatrist will go back on the stand.

We expect to finish talking about the medical records of AJ’s brother, Josh.

Get a full recap of each day with the trial blogs:

About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.

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.