HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On day nine of jury selection for A.J. Armstrong's third capital murder trial, five more potential jurors were selected, bringing the pool of people to 29.
While the hourlong, individual questioning of panel members is tedious and thorough, it has moved on schedule until Thursday.
Thursday afternoon, Armstrong's attorneys made a motion arguing that the way potential jurors are being dismissed isn't fair. The judge has yet to rule on this and will do so at a hearing on Monday when the court reconvenes.
During the individual questioning, both prosecutors and defense attorneys have up to 30 minutes to ask potential jurors about their background, their beliefs, their understanding of the law, and the criminal justice system. If a person has morals or prejudices that would make them unfit to be a juror on Armstrong's capital murder trial, the state or defense can ask the person be dismissed.
Since jury selection started on May 1, 139 men and women have been summoned. Out of the 139, 53 people moved on to be questioned individually. So far, 29 of the 53 people remain potential jurors.
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Of the 29 people, three men and two women questioned Thursday were asked to come back for final jury selection.
One of them, a mother and physical therapist at Harris Health, said she had heard about the case but didn't have any opinions on it. When asked on her jury questionnaire: "What makes a person dangerous?" The potential juror wrote: "I believe we can all snap."
In July 2016, Dawn and Antonio Armstrong Sr. were shot in their southwest Houston home. Armstrong, their son, who was 16 years old at the time, was arrested and charged within hours of the murders. For nearly seven years, through two mistrials that ended with hung juries, Armstrong has maintained an intruder shot his parents.
Another potential juror questioned on Thursday was a 42-year-old man who works for a supply chain company and described himself as "more of a follower than a leader," saying he "doesn't like confrontation." But when prosecutors asked if he could stand up to fellow jurors who might have trouble convicting based on the automatic life sentence with possibility of parole after 40 years, the man said he would have no problem reminding fellow jurors their job was only to decide the verdict.
A woman excused from serving admitted to doing "a deep dive" on the Armstrong case before she was summoned on Tuesday. She told prosecutors she had strong opinions: "Why is the case being tried a third time? Do we want to spend resources on this again?"
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On Monday, nine more prospective jurors will be questioned.
Another 65 people will come to court Tuesday, for the third, and what's expected to be the final, large panel.
Ultimately, the pool of potential jurors is expected to be around 40 people. Final jury selection happens on May 31.
Armstrong's third capital murder trial is set to start June 5.
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