In July 2016, Armstrong Jr. dialed 911 at 1:40 a.m. to notify police that he heard multiple gunshots ring out from his parent’s bedroom while his 12-year-old sister was still asleep downstairs, according to KHOU11. Following an initial investigation of the crime scene, the story that was told didn’t align with what was uncovered, which led police to look at the then teenager as a suspect.
On Wednesday, after more than 10 hours of deliberation, a jury of seven men and five women agreed that the 23-year-old took the lives of his mother and father by shooting them. The trial, which was the third attempt prosecutors made to prove Armstrong Jr. did kill his parents, lasted 11 days, and 31 witnesses took the stand. Many of his family members were in the courtroom to learn if he would be convicted of murder. Some of those in attendance were his sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who attended the trial to show support. He did have two family members, his sister Kayra and his father’s mother Kay Winston, testify on his behalf.
When the judge read out the decision, Armstrong Jr.’s wife Kate began crying. Since he was 16 when the murders happened, he was given the possibility of parole after 40 years of serving his life sentence. One of his lawyers, Rick DeToto, spoke to the press and shared that his client was disappointed in the outcome of his case.
“He’s devastated but he’s one of the strongest young men I’ve ever known,” the defense attorney said, KHOU11 reported.
He continued, “His family is amazing. Obviously, they’re devastated right now. This is a difficult time for them, but they will rally and help A.J. and his young son and his wife get through this.”
Another one of the defense team’s attorneys, Chris Collings, revealed they have plans to appeal the ruling and they’ve already moved on that notion. In the meantime, they’re just focused on trying to keep AJ and his family uplifted during this time.
“We tried to give him hope, you know, it’s a long road,” Collings said. “Everybody’s in shock and disbelief and it’s going to take some time to process everything that just occurred.”
“They’re going to get back on track and they’re going to do the right thing and see this thing through and hopefully get some justice for AJ,” he added.
John Jordan and Ryan Trask were Harris County’s lead prosecutors for this case. Their boss, District Attorney Kim Ogg, admitted how proud she was of their hard work and the outcome because her team found justice to honor two people who died because they were teaching their children to be the best versions of themselves.
“In trying to speak for those who no longer had a voice to defend themselves or say what happened, our job was to find justice for them,” Ogg said in a news conference. “Antonio Sr. and Dawn Armstrong died because they were trying to be good parents. Because they wanted their children to do right. Not to lie. To work. To be law-abiding, contributing adults. And for that, they paid with their lives.”