Jury selection begins for 3rd trial of AJ Armstrong, accused of shooting killing parents 7 years ago

Courtney Fischer Image
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
AJ Armstrong's 3rd trial nearing as jury selection begins on Monday
AJ Armstrong, who is now a father and a husband, has spent his adult life charged with his parents' murders. Here's what's next as he prepares to face a jury for a third time since

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Seventy-four perspective jurors showed up on the 19th floor of the criminal courthouse Monday as jury selection in A.J. Armstrong's third capital murder trial began.

By the end of the day, 39 people were dismissed, and 35 were asked to return Tuesday for the start of one-on-one questioning.

Armstrong, now 23 and a father himself, is accused of killing his parents, Dawn and Antonio Sr., in their southwest Houston home seven years ago when he was just 16.

Dawn and Antonio Sr. were shot in the head, with pillows placed over their faces while they were asleep. Armstrong was arrested hours later.

Judge Kelli Johnson spoke to the panel first, asking if anyone was already familiar with the case. Twenty-four prospective jurors raised a hand, saying they indeed had heard things.

One juror told the judge, that walking into the courtroom on Monday, "I definitely had an opinion."

"I've read too much about it," another person said, also admitting he already had an opinion about the case.

One person said he had seen the recent headlines regarding a motion filed by the defense asking for a continuance on the case, which stated an alternate juror had dated a prosecutor from the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

However, that person was not linked to the Armstrong case.

SEE HERE: Houston man will be tried 3rd time after mistrial in October over parents' murders when he was 16

The state responded with its own motion Friday, asking for a continuance and that all court filings be "non-public" until reviewed by the judge.

On Monday, Judge Johnson denied the requests.

The day started with Judge Johnson reading the indictment aloud, followed by Armstrong introducing himself to the prospective jurors as Antonio Armstrong--the first instance of him dropping "Junior" while in court.

He wore a dark gray suit, a lavender button-down shirt, and a similar shade tie.

This will be the third time Armstrong is on trial for allegedly shooting and killing his parents.

Armstrong's first trial in March 2019 resulted in a hung jury. His second trial was nearly six months ago, in October, and ended with the same result.

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. 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 will attempt to prove to a third jury.

Armstrong's legal team had been vocal throughout the first two trials but has not commented on the case since the judge filed a publicity order in January 2023. The order states that all attorneys shall not discuss "the character, credibility or reputation of any party" during the trial.

Judge Johnson told jurors that jury selection would last most of May and that the trial could take up most, if not all, of June.

Testimony for the third trial is set to begin on June 5.

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

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