Pre-trial hearing for AJ Armstrong will decide if some evidence can be used at 3rd murder trial

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Thursday, June 1, 2023
Pre-trial hearing begins today in AJ Armstrong's 3rd murder trial
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The pretrial hearing on Thursday will focus on whether some evidence can be used at trial. The brand new jury will not be present for this.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A pre-trial hearing for A.J. Armstrong will be held Thursday ahead of his third murder trial. The other two trials ended in hung juries.

The 23-year-old is accused in the deaths of his parents, Dawn and Antonio Sr. AJ was 16 years old at the time of their deaths.

A brand new jury has been selected after an extensive selection process.

It took 150 hours during the month of May to find 16 jurors.

They include two former marines, engineers in oil and gas, a former teacher, and an employee from Space Center Houston.

Because Armstrong's case has been highly publicized, it was a challenge trying to find people in Harris County whose opinions have not been swayed by the coverage.

We have a breakdown of everyone selected.

There are four white women, four Hispanic men, two Hispanic women, two Black men, two white men, and two Asian men. Four of those jurors are alternates, but those four are not being told that until it's time to deliberate.

There's a lot at stake with this third trial. If found guilty, Armstrong, who is now a father and a husband, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

ABC13's Courtney Fisher has covered this case from the start. She asked our legal analyst, Steve Shellist, what strategy the defense may be focusing on this time around.

"If you are on the defense team going into this third trial, is your focus on getting a not guilty verdict or getting a hung jury for the third time?" ABC13 asked.

"You definitely want a not guilty. Who doesn't? But, my gosh, would they be thrilled with a hung jury. Because if I'm a betting man, the district attorney's office is not going to try him a fourth time. If it's hung, three is a lot. Four, probably unheard of," Shellist said.

The pretrial hearing on Thursday will focus on whether some evidence can be used at trial. The jury will not be present.

Armstrong's trial will begin on Monday in Judge Kelly Johnson's court.

See more of ABC13's seven-year coverage on A.J. Armstrong's murder trial.

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