AJ Armstrong retrial: Both sides preparing for closing arguments that begin on Monday, Oct. 24

The last witness to testify was the defendant's sister, Kayra Armstrong, who was 12-year-old at the time of the murders in 2016.

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Saturday, October 22, 2022
Closing arguments for AJ Armstrong's murder retrial set for Oct. 24
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The last witness to take the stand was Armstrong's now college-aged sister, Kayra Armstrong, who recounted the details of the night her parents were killed.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After less than two weeks of testimony from 24 witnesses, jurors in the A.J. Armstrong capital murder retrial have heard all the evidence in the case.

On Friday, the court heard from A.J.'s only family member to take the stand. Kayra Armstrong was 12 years old when Dawn and Antonio Armstrong Sr. were murdered in 2016.

Kayra, a freshman at Louisiana State University, was also in the house, sleeping when her parents were shot to death.

She has grown up under the lens of this case. She was calm, collected, and not emotional as she recounted the details of that evening.

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Kayra told jurors that A.J. had picked her up from her grandmother's house and when they got home, the two went up to Dawn and Antonio Sr.'s bedroom and the four of them talked. Kayra said she eventually set the alarm and said goodnight to her parents, and the next thing she remembered was A.J. shaking her awake, saying they had to get out of the house.

Kayra also testified that the house alarm had been finicky in the past, though she had no issue setting the alarm that night.

Kayra told jurors that A.J. had a great relationship with their parents. She said Josh, their older half-brother, also loved and respected their parents.

Though, Kayra said Josh had changed in the weeks leading up to the murders. She says she heard him talking to himself in the bathroom, that his personal hygiene had declined, and that Josh smoked weed more often.

Kayra testified that a few weeks before her parents were killed, Josh got into a fight with Dawn and Antonio Sr., yelling at one point: "I'm the black sheep of the family. You love A.J. and Kayra more than me."

A.J.'s attorneys have long said that Josh, who lived nearby, could be the killer.

The state's final witness, Dr. Ian Lamoureux, a forensic psychiatrist, testified that after reviewing hundreds of pages of Josh's medical records, it appeared Josh became full-on schizophrenic after the murders. Lamoureux testified that the traumatic event seemed to have caused Josh's psychotic breakdown.

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"Well, the distinction between their expert and ours was our expert spoke with (Armstrong) family members and those family members expressed this (Josh's mental decline) has been going on for a while," Rick DeToto, A.J.'s attorney, said.

Closing arguments are expected on Monday, Oct. 24 and A.J.'s attorneys say they're ready.

"(A.J.) is nervous. Just to be frank," Chris Collings, A.J.'s other attorney, said. "He was feeling pretty good throughout trial. We've been through this before, then, all of the sudden, the reality that it's winding down and coming to a close has hit him."

"This has been a burden on my shoulder for six years. I feel like A.J. is one of my stepsons, and I have a heavy responsibility for this young man," DeToto said.

After closing arguments, jurors will go directly into deliberations. They've been told to pack a bag, as they'll be sequestered for the evening if they can't agree on a verdict before the day's end.

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