AJ Armstrong capital murder jury to pick up deliberations on Wednesday after 5 hours on Tuesday

Jurors were told to pack a bag for closing arguments. Should they not reach a verdict Tuesday, they'll be sequestered to a hotel.

Courtney Fischer Image
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Watch as attorneys deliver closing arguments in AJ Armstrong's  trial
Things got heated and emotional as closing arguments were delivered in AJ Armstrong's third murder trial.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The jurors deliberating AJ Armstrong's fate in his third capital murder trial will pick back up Wednesday morning.

The jury retired for the night at about 7 p.m., five hours after the panel received the case. The jurors are being sequestered at a hotel, meaning they're restricted from cell phones and televisions. In addition, each juror can be alone only in their individual room, and if they are together, a bailiff must accompany them.

They cannot discuss the case together.

Closing arguments

Three times A.J. Armstrong has been tried for capital murder, accused of killing his parents as they slept. Twice, a mistrial was declared when jurors couldn't decide on a unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty. Now, a third jury is getting their chance.

After more than 40 hours of testimony from 31 witnesses over the past 11 days, the state of Texas rested its case against Armstrong on Monday.

The state and defense finished delivering their closing arguments at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. Now, the jury is left to deliberate a verdict.

WATCH: Conclusion of closing arguments presented in court

The jury heard a total of more than three hours from attorneys during closing arguments in the third capital murder trial.

Evidence requested

Shortly after 3 p.m., jurors requested to see the evidence in the case. The ask is not more specific, so all the physical evidence is provided to them, with the exception of the murder weapon. Among items provided to the jury room are AJ's clothes, bloody pillows that were found over the victims' heads, alarm records and more than 19,000 pages of text messages.

Judge Kelli Johnson already told jurors to pack a bag for the closing arguments.

Should AJ be found guilty of capital murder, he'll be immediately sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Due to his age at the time of the murders, AJ would not face the death penalty.

RELATED: 'It's all my fault:' A.J. Armstrong's 911 call revealed as he's on trial for his parents' murders

What got us to today

It's been more than seven years since Armstrong was charged with killing his parents.

In July 2016, Dawn and Antonio Sr. were each shot in the head, pillows placed over their faces, while asleep in their southwest Houston home. Armstrong was arrested hours later. He was 16 years old, entering his junior year of high school at the time.

SEE ALSO: 'I didn't do it:' Accused killer A.J. Armstrong tells his story

Now, Armstrong is a 23-year-old man who has worn a GPS ankle monitor all of his adult life, since bonding out of jail in 2017.

Since his last trial, Armstrong has married the mother of his son, his high school girlfriend, Kate Ober, who testified on his behalf during his first trial. These are big milestones for anyone, but Armstrong has yet to move on with his life, as investigators maintain he is the only person who could have killed his parents, which prosecutors are attempting to prove to a third jury.

Defense attorneys have tried to cast doubt on that, even pointing a finger at Armstrong's older brother, Josh, as a possible suspect.

The state had text messages between Antonio Sr., Dawn, and their son, Josh, introduced into evidence. Prosecutors worked to show that those messages made it appear Josh was a normal and loving son.

SEE ALSO: 19,000 pages of text messages dissected in A.J. Armstrong third's capital murder trial

However, the defense claims Josh had mental health issues and was suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia. The state says Josh was diagnosed with mental health issues, but that happened months after the murders.

There have been several delays in what seems like the never-ending saga that is the Armstrong case thanks to Hurricane Harvey, COVID-19, dozens of rescheduled hearings, even lost evidence.

For complete coverage of the AJ Armstrong case, follow Courtney Fischer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


'I'M INNOCENT': Houston teen AJ Armstrong gives his side as he awaits trial in murder of his parents

AJ ARMSTRONG SPEAKS: Teen suspected of killing his parents in their SW Houston home gives his side

From crime scene to courtroom: Courtney Fischer takes you inside the AJ Armstrong case

ABC13's Courtney Fischer opens up about her exclusive interview with Armstrong, who is accused of killing his parents.