Texas

Grandparents support A.J. Armstrong ahead of third murder trial

In October, a judge declared a mistrial in the second murder case of Antonio “AJ” Armstrong Jr.

HOUSTON. A.J. Armstrong Jr.’s pretrial hearing ended on Wednesday morning, and the judge has made some changes to what happens next.

Armstrong Jr is accused of killing his parents in their Bellaire home in 2016. He appeared in court on Wednesday for the first time since a second mistrial in October.

In an emotional interview, Armstrong Jr.’s grandparents pleaded with the district attorney’s office not to proceed with a new lawsuit.

“Since 2016, we have supported our grandson every day,” said Armstrong Jr.’s grandfather, Keith Wylie. “Everyone in the family supports him and believes he is innocent of the charges. Our family is suffering and grieving.”

Armstrong Jr. stood before the judge, waiting for a new trial to take place. He was also seen crying in the hallway along with family members. Wylie said the family can’t move on while the murder case hangs over their heads.

The judge has ordered that jury selection begin on February 24, but evidence will not be heard until March 20. The reason for the adjournment is because prosecutors were worried about spring break and that Rodeo Houston was an inconvenience to jurors.

Wylie also said the family cannot move on while the murder case hangs over their heads. Lawyers for Armstrong Jr argue that someone else committed the crime and that the third lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money.

What happened

Armstrong Jr. was 16 when prosecutors said he shot and killed his parents in 2016. Antonio Armstrong Sr. and Don Armstrong were killed while sleeping in their home in Bellaire.

Armstrong Jr.’s first trial in 2019 ended in error when the jury failed to agree on a verdict.

During the second trial, defense attorneys said that eight jurors found Armstrong Jr. innocent and four found him guilty. In his first trial, it was the other way around: eight jurors found him guilty.

HOW 11 spoke to the jury at the second trial. They said doubts generated by the defense led to the jurors being jurors.

“It got to the point where I couldn’t even talk anymore,” the juror said. “Everyone kind of made up their minds, but it was very frustrating to hear everyone say — I mean, everyone say: We know he’s not innocent, but we still have our doubts.”

Victims

Armstrong Sr. played football for Texas A&M and the Miami Dolphins and coached both of his sons when they were younger.

According to police, he was an assistant pastor. Don Armstrong’s Facebook page says they “serve together in the ministry.”

The couple owned 1st grade teaching at Bellaire and Armstrong Sr. was also a motivational speaker.

Family members continued to support Antonio Armstrong Jr. throughout both trials, and many were present in the courtroom in October when the mistrial was announced.

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