HOUSTON – Antonio ‘A.J.’ Armstrong is scheduled to appear in front of a judge Friday morning. It comes after he filed a notice to appeal in his capital murder conviction.
A jury of 12 found Armstrong guilty of killing his parents in 2016 on Wednesday during his third capital murder re-trial.
Since Armstrong was a minor at the time of the murder, he will be eligible for parole in 40 years.
“It hurts a lot. I’m sorry,” said Armstrong’s great-uncle Harvey Armstrong. “And mostly I’m frustrated and I’m hurting. We’re all in shock.”
Harvey Armstrong said he was at the airport when he got the guilty text from his niece.
“I just fell to the floor in tears. People thought I had [fallen] out and fainted. I just didn’t know how to react,” Harvey said.
A.J. Armstrong left the courtroom Wednesday as a convicted killer and pointed towards the direction of his wife and family – a family who are, as prosecutor John Jordan said, also victims.
“Our heart goes out to the family,” Jordan said. “We understand they’re going through a lot. It’s just their truth is not the truth, but our heart goes out to them because they are victims of this tragic, this horrible incident caused by this defendant.”
“What would make us happy is if they would find the real killer and quit trying to fix their selves on A.J., which they did. We’re all victims,” Harvey Armstrong said.
Harvey, a former NFL defensive tackle, said while he’s hurting, it’s time to move onto the next play - the appeal.
“I could just see my nephew; an innocent kid sitting in that jail cell knowing he didn’t kill his parents,” Harvey Armstrong said. “I just see this kid, who lost his mother and father, and he can’t be around to raise his son.”
He suggests the trial wasn’t fair because police never fully conducted an investigation. It’s a claim prosecutors and authorities denied throughout the trial.
“I do believe the Houston Police department did a thorough job. I just believe the evidence led them, and always had led them, that the killer was inside the house,” Prosecutor Ryan Trask said during a press conference after the conviction.
Trask said when he and Jordan met with jurors after the trial they believed them and relied on several pieces of evidence, “such as the test fire in the defendant’s bedroom, the fire that was lit on the flood, the 911 call, the inconsistencies in the defendant’s statements, and also the manipulation in the crime scene were all things we saw that the jury found important in coming to this determination.”
Harvey Armstrong is calling for Houstonians to protest on behalf of A.J.
“I want a protest. I want to flood the streets of Houston and flood the DA’s office in the courthouse and say, ‘this is totally unfair.’ But in a Christian way, in a respectful manner, no violence no craziness. Just showing the city the prosecutors, the DA Kim, this is not right.”