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

Courtney Fischer Image
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Text messages take center stage on 2nd day of Armstrong trial
The third murder trial of AJ Amrstrong enters the second day, with text messages between the defendant and his parents taking center stage.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On day two of A.J. Armstrong's third capital murder trial, a new witness took the stand: HPD Officer Logan Weber didn't testify in Armstrong's two previous trials, but told jurors in this trial what happened the morning he drove Armstrong to police headquarters, hours after investigators say he murdered his parents on July 29, 2016.

Weber said he and his partner checked Armstrong into the building, and Weber put an orange visitor's badge on Armstrong's t-shirt.

That badge is the subject of new blood evidence recently discovered by a state expert who, while recently looking at Armstrong's clothing in evidence, peeled the badge back and discovered two stains on the back of the badge. Those stains have been tested, and prosecutors say the blood is from Antonio Armstrong Sr.

Defense attorney Rick DeToto had Weber physically show jurors how he put the badge on Armstrong that morning. Weber said he could have touched the adhesive part of the sticker, but testified he had no blood on his fingers at the time. He also told jurors he saw no blood on Armstrong or on his clothes for the six hours they were together.

Prosecutors also introduced 19,000 pages of text messages between Armstrong and his parents and Armstrong and his then-girlfriend, now-wife, Kate Ober.

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

Harris County Assistant District Attorney John Jordan spent more than two hours reading dozens of texts to jurors in the five months leading up to the murders, including texts from Dawn Armstrong to A.J., in which she tells him several times, "You are a liar," claiming he lied about his grades, about smoking weed and sneaking out to see his girlfriend.

But, DeToto pointed out Armstrong never threatened his parents or texted anything violent, showing in the hours leading up to the murders, Armstrong was texting Kate he "loved" her.

Armstrong's texts played an important role in the two previous trials, but in trial three, the state changed how they presented the messages to the jury.

Prosecutors displayed on TVs multiple text conversations Armstrong was having at the same time, they say, showing the then-16-year-old telling his parents one thing while telling his girlfriend a different version of the story. The question now is: how will jurors perceive that? Was Armstrong an average teenager telling white lies, or was it something more sinister?

The day ended with former HPD detective Jimmy Dotson walking jurors through the crime scene via police photographs, explaining the early hours of the investigation. Day three of the trial picks up with Armstrong's team getting their chance to question Dotson.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

For more updates on AJ Armstrong's trial, follow Courtney Carpenter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.