AJ Armstrong found guilty of capital murder of his parents

Jurors could not reach a unaminous verdict in two previous capital murder trials for AJ Armstrong.

Thursday, August 17, 2023
AJ Armstrong returns to jail after conviction in 3rd murder trial
ABC13's Courtney Fischer, who has followed the Armstrong double murder from the beginning seven years ago, walks you through every major moment leading up to and following AJ Armstrong's conviction.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After two previous mistrials, the jury has found a verdict of guilty in the third trial for a Houston man accused of killing his parents as a 16-year-old back in 2016.

A.J. Armstrong and his attorneys are in the courtroom, and the jurors were ushered in at about 3:30 p.m. Extra bailiffs are present as well as the judge polled each juror to make sure they were all in agreement.

WATCH: Cameras were inside the courtroom as the verdict was read

After two previous mistrials, the jury has reached a verdict for a Houston man accused of killing his parents as a 16-year-old in 2016.

A short time later, A.J.'s family members left the courtroom in tears. They declined to speak to media.

The jurors deliberated for about 10 hours after hearing more than 40 hours of testimony from 31 witnesses over 11 days in the third capital murder trial for A.J. Armstrong.

With the guilty verdict, A.J. was immediately sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Due to his age at the time of the murders, he did not face the possibility of 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

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.

"Antonio Sr. and Dawn Armstrong died because they were trying to be good parents, because they wanted their children to do right," said District Attorney Kim Ogg.

Defense attorney Rick Detoto said, "He's devastated. He's one of the strongest young men I've ever known. His family is amazing, and obviously they are devastated right now. This is a difficult time for them, but they will rally and they will help A.J. and his young son and his wife get through this."

WATCH: 'He's devastated': Defense attorneys speak out after AJ Armstrong's guilty verdict

"This is a difficult time for them, but they will rally and they will help A.J. and his young son and his wife get through this," Rick Detoto, one of Armstrong's attorneys said.

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 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.

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


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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.