HOUSTON - Jurors in the capital murder trial for Antonio Armstrong Jr. heard his police interrogation recording Monday morning before he was charged with killing his parents. This is the second week of testimony.
A scientist also testified gasoline was found in a burned spot of carpeting in the Armstrong family’s home, as prosecutors tell jurors Antonio Armstrong Jr. used gasoline to set the carpet on fire and fired a test shot from the murder weapon in the days before his parents were murdered.
A Houston police investigator gave testimony saying, then 16-year-old Antonio Armstrong Jr. didn’t appear to be "scared, nervous, in shock or emotional," while being interviewed by two homicide detectives the morning his parents, former NFL player Antonio Armstrong Sr. and Dawn Armstrong, were murdered as they slept in their Bellaire-area home back in July 2016.
His interrogation interview was played for jurors.
The detective also says AJ never mentioned seeing an intruder in the 16-minute 911 call, but later told investigators he saw a masked man.
Prosecutors say alarm records show the home alarm was set just before 10 p.m. and there’s no activity until a motion sensor is activated on the second floor of the home at 1:09 a.m. although all the doors, according to alarm records were still closed. The first floor motion sensor isn't triggered until 1:25 a.m. and that's where the gun and a note were found in the kitchen.
AJ calls 911 at 1:40 a.m. Then alarm records show the system was disarmed and the front door was opened when Antonio Jr. and his sister left the house to meet waiting police officers. AJ’s attorney says he plans to show jurors the alarm wasn’t working properly.
The defense also showed jurors a number of text messages between AJ and his parents where his mom and dad are praising him in the months before the murders, in contrast to messages shown by prosecutors displaying parents who were extremely disappointed in their son.
Defense Attorney Rick Detoto also points to text messages Antonio, Jr. sent to his girlfriend before prosecutors say he executed his parents.
"90 minutes before this happened, he’s in bed flirting with his girlfriend, talking about how ‘I love you,’ how ‘I want to get married,’" he said. "That’s totally inconsistent with someone who’s angry, suicidal, homicidal."
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. when an alarm expert is expected to testify that the alarm was working properly.