Antonio and Dawn Armstrong seemed to be living the American dream. He was a former NFL player. The couple ran a gym franchise, First Class Training, together in Bellaire, a Houston suburb where they also lived. They had two sons, Joshua, and a daughter, Kyra, and appeared to be a happy family.
But on July 29, 2016 that loving family scenario game to a brutal and unexpected end. The Armstrongs were shot and killed in their home with their own gun and their 16-year-old son, Antonio, Jr. was charged with the murder.
Now he is on trial, facing a life sentence. He has sworn he didn’t do it, and is supported by both sets of grandparents. However, the police and prosecution allege that with no one else home but his sister, with no forced entry and the fact that Armstrong, Jr. had to disarm the home alarm to let police in after calling 911, that he’s is the murderer. Armstrong Jr. points to an intruder and some evidence has come forward that his father was allegedly involved in a prostitution ring.
His trial began this month. One of the early revelations is that in the weeks preceding the shootings that Armstrong, Jr.’s parents were having problems with him. In a series of texts released during the trial, they express frustration with his lying and his academic performance.
The Houston Chronicle reports:
Text exchanges between Antonio Armstrong, Jr., his mother and father showed a teen who was frequently explaining his actions when he was caught bending the truth. His parents were not shy in expressing their disappointment.
“He is a bold face liar like I have never seen before,” Dawn Armstrong said in a text to her son and husband, after she found out he was untruthful about being at basketball practice.
Dawn Armstrong and her husband, Antonio Armstrong, Sr., were found shot to death in their beds on July 29, 2016. Their son, who also goes by A.J., was charged with capital murder. He was 16 at the time and certified to be tried as an adult.
Defense attorneys contended that the messages didn’t show the full picture of the couple’s relationship with their son and that jurors only saw a small portion of texts extracted from Armstrong’s phone.
“Out of 80,000 pages of phone records, that’s all they could come up with,” attorney Rick DeToto said. “The other most important thing about those phone records is they cherry picked certain records to put in front of the jury.”
The Chronicle reports that the texts were exchanged in the months prior to the couple’s death. Armstrong Jr. was also accused by his parents of smoking weed in the house and acknowledged that he was losing his parent’s trust and that he needed “major changes” in his life. His academic performance was an issue as well – in the texts, his father said that despite thousands spent in tutoring, Armstrong, Jr. was not going to gain re-admittance to his private school and had been grounded and was denied use of a vehicle in the weeks leading up to the murders.
Prosecutors say that the text messages, part of over 80,000 pages of phone records, do not provide a full picture of Armstrong Jr. and his parent’s relationship. Armstrong Jr. maintains and intruder broke in an killed his parents, but alarm company employees testified that the system showed no sign of an intruder.
The prosecution rested its case today. You can read more about the case HERE.