HOUSTON (FOX 26) — Following closing arguments, the jury is deliberating in the trial of Antonio Armstrong Jr.
He is charged with capital murder in the death of his parents, Antonio and Dawn Armstrong, as they slept in their Bellaire home in July 2016 when he was only 16 years old.
Defense attorneys for A.J. rested on Tuesday and will not be calling any more witnesses in the high-profile murder trial.
A.J. said he would not testify in his own defense.
Ninth grade student Kayra Armstrong wiped away tears on the witness stand Tuesday as she testified about the day her parents were shot to death in their home.
Prosecutors say Antonio Jr., known as A.J., was using drugs and getting into trouble when his parents were killed.
Kayra testified that her older brother Josh changed after returning from college in May 2016.
“Josh started becoming violent," testified Kayra. "He started using more drugs. He started hearing demonic voices. At one point, he thought he was Satan.”
Defense attorneys appear to be trying to shift the blame away from A.J.
Kayra testified that Josh “began acting like the black sheep of the family, like our parents loved us more becaise we were theirs biologically. He started talking to himself. He stayed in the restroom for hours and hours and talked to himself."
The prosecutor reminded Kayra that she told detectives that "Josh gets along good" with her parents and said she didn’t tell officers that Josh was behaving oddly on the night their parents were murdered.
Kayra also testified A.J. was happy when he picked her up from their grandmother’s house hours before the murders.
“He was in a good mood. He talked to my grandmother about how he was going to go to Lamar (High School) and he was excited,” she said.
She says when they returned home, she and her brother went to their parents' room, talked with them and everything was normal. She says she set the alarm and they all went to sleep until she was awakened by A.J. after 2:00 a.m. after their parents were shot with her father’s gun.
Prosecutors point to the home alarm being set, saying that proves no one could have come into the house. Kayra told jurors the alarm was “finicky” and didn’t always work properly.
A.J.’s grandmother Kay Winston, who is Antonio Sr.’s mom, was the last witness to take the stand.
“A.J. did not do this,” she told jurors.
She also testified that Josh took her to the hospital where her son, Antonio Sr., was shot and being treated before he died, but Josh never came inside. She also says Josh returned from college with odd behavior.
"Josh lost a lot of weight. He had this death stare. He would come to church sometimes and instead of sitting with the family, he would sit at the back of the church by himself. He would stare and go in and out the door at the church. That wasn’t his normal behavior. His hygiene was poor. He didn’t dress as nice as he normally would. He wasn’t bathing. His hair wasn’t combed. He would smell like marijuana whenever he would hug you,” she said.
Winston says after the murders, Josh tried to burn down her house.
“Josh was zoned out. He didn’t know what had happened. He wasn’t himself. It’s like he didn’t know what just happened," she said.