AJ Armstrong murder trial: Legal wrangling as double capital murder trial nears

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In three days, 12 men and women will be picked to hear the facts of a double capital murder case that's dragged on for nearly three years.

In July 2016, Antonio Armstrong Jr. was charged with shooting and killing his parents, Dawn and Antonio Armstrong, while they slept in their southwest Houston home. AJ Armstrong was 16 years old at the time.

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AJ Armstrong entered court with a new look.

Since then, we've watched AJ grow up in the courthouse halls. He's gone before a judge close to 15 times, according to his attorneys. Eyewitness News has been there for every appearance. There have been numerous twists in the case and disagreements between prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Today, more discrepancy over evidence. Prosecutors and AJ's lawyers argued over what a police officer said AJ said the night his parents were murdered.

The defense says, an officer initially told prosecutors he heard AJ say there was an intruder in the house the night of the murders. Later, the officer told prosecutors he didn't remember hearing AJ say that.

It took attorneys about 30 minutes to agree on how the officer's testimony will be handled during trial.

"If this officer testifies and takes the stand and says, 'Hey, I never told that to the first prosecutor,' we now know that that's false," said Rick DeToto, AJ's attorney.

In court, prosecutors agreed jurors should hear both versions of the officer's story.

"It goes with the theme of this case, they made up their minds right away, they arrested this man within 10 or 15 minutes and they didn't care what else came along," DeToto said.

Eyewitness News asked prosecutors for a comment. They declined, saying they're focusing on preparing for trial.

The trial is still set to start Friday. Because of the publicity of this case, 120 men and women will be brought in for jury selection. That's double the amount of people called in during the standard jury selection process.

"We are ready to go," said DeToto. "AJ is ready to have his case heard by a jury. We are excited to meet the 12 people who will hear this case and we are looking forward to presenting the evidence of AJ's innocence."

There will be another hearing Wednesday, in which the judge will hear the defense's motion to quash or dismiss the adult certification hearing that happened more than two years ago, on March 8, 2017.

Last month, the defense filed that motion, saying AJ's rights were violated. His attorneys maintain prosecutors kept key witness evidence and recordings from the defense for months.


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