Potential juror tells AJ Armstrong directly: if evidence is there, she will convict

Courtney Fischer Image
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Potential juror tells Armstrong she will convict if evidence is there
During week one of jury selection, a potential juror told A.J. Armstrong directly that she will convict if there is evidence in the case.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- By the end of week one of jury selection for the A.J. Armstrong capital murder trial, 17 men and women were selected as potential jurors from Monday's initial group of 74 people.

On Friday, prosecutors and Armstrong's defense team questioned eight people. Of those eight, three women and two men were dismissed.

The three women chosen to return on May 31 for final jury selection are a former newspaper reporter who works in IT for a consulting company, a Space Center Houston employee, and a mother with an adult son who described herself as "not easily influenced by other people."

"I am my own person," the woman went on to say as she was questioned by the state for 20 minutes.

She told Assistant District Attorney John Jordan while she knew the case had been tried twice before, she wasn't familiar with the details of what happened.

Dawn and Antonio Sr. were each shot in the head in July 2016 in their southwest Houston home. Hours after the double murder, their son, AJ, who was 16 at the time, was charged. He is now 23 years old.

In the past seven years, Armstrong has been tried twice for the murders of his parents. Both trials ended in no verdict when jurors couldn't agree whether Armstrong was guilty. The first jury hung in March 2019, and the second happened in October 2022.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: 'He killed his parents': Potential juror dismissed during day 4 of AJ Armstrong jury selection

As jury selection continues in the case of AJ Armstrong, four potential jurors were excused, and five have been asked to return.

"I think that they have to make sure everyone is in line with the facts," said the potential juror who had heard about the previous trials. "This is a big thing. Someone's life is in your hands."

When the IT consultant was questioned, she told the state, "It's important to listen to all sides and make a decision based on (that)."

When Jordan questioned the 51-year-old mother whether she'd be able to find Armstrong guilty if the state proved their case, the woman looked straight at Armstrong and said, "I think it's important to tell Mr. Armstrong that directly. I would need to vote for a guilty verdict."

Armstrong smiled respectfully and said nothing, as he's been quiet all week.

When it was defense attorney Rick DeToto's turn to question the woman, he asked if the state did not prove their case, would she be able to find Armstrong not guilty, to which she again looked directly at Armstrong, this time saying she would not convict him.

Of the five potential jurors dismissed, one man admitted he would need to have a motive to find Armstrong guilty, which prosecutors are not required to prove in the state of Texas.

"It's hard for me to give a verdict if I don't understand what's going on inside of them," the man said.

RELATED: Potential jurors in AJ Armstrong case questioned on what they know about previous trials

It'll be weeks before any jurors are selected in the third AJ armstrong murder trial. As of Tuesday, attorneys for both sides have only questioned a few people.

Judge Kelli Johnson promptly excused him from serving.

Next Monday, the final five potential jurors from this first panel will be questioned. On Tuesday, a second large panel will report to the criminal courthouse, and the process starts over.

The trial is set to start on June 5.

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