'They were always happy': 2 of A.J. Armstrong's former coaches took stand on day 8 of the retrial

Courtney Fischer Image
Thursday, October 20, 2022
'They were always happy': 2 of A.J. Armstrong's former coaches took the stand on day 8 of the capital murder retrial
Two of A.J. Armstrong's former football coaches took the stand on day eight of A.J.'s capital murder retrial.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two of A.J. Armstrong's former football coaches took the stand on Thursday morning, the eighth day of his capital murder retrial.

Coach Theadis Reagins was the head football coach at Lamar High School in 2016, when Armstrong was a sophomore. He was set to play football at Lamar that year after leaving The Kinkaid School, but Armstrong never started school that fall.

He was charged with shooting and killing his parents, Dawn and Antonio Armstrong Sr., in July 2016.

The coach testified that he never saw Armstrong frustrated or angry with his parents. Reagins said he never saw Armstrong disrespect his father at football practice. He told jurors he knew Armstrong's father from growing up in Houston, playing football at rival high schools.

Reagins testified he never knew Armstrong had transferred to Lamar because he failed out of The Kinkaid School. Prosecutors also pointed out Armstrong's parents had discussed sending him to another elite Houston private school: St. Pius X High School.

The coach testified he did not know it was Armstrong's mother who nixed that idea.

Coach Stephen Hill was the head football coach at St. Pius in 2016, and before that, the head football coach at Kinkaid. Hill took the stand after Reagins, also testifying he knew Armstrong's parents.

Hill told jurors that his father was harder on Armstrong than his mother was.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News in 2017, Hill told us, "(it) always seemed like they (Armstrong and his parents) had a great relationship. They were always happy."

Hill also told jurors that while he was on the phone with Armstrong's father weeks before the murders, discussing Armstrong's future in football, he heard Armstrong's mother yelling in the background, "I'm not paying a dime to send his (Armstrong's) lying ass to St. Pius when we can send him to Lamar."

Investigators have said Armstrong killed his parents because tension had been building between the three of them: Armstrong's parents took him out of private school, he had been caught lying and smoking in the house, and they were angry over his bad grades.

The defense will pick up day nine of the retrial on Friday at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to rest their case by the end of the day.

Closing arguments could happen as soon as Monday.

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