HOUSTON (FOX 26) - After more than two weeks of testimony, the teen accused of killing his parents, A.J. Armstrong’s fate, is now in the hands of the jury.
Closing arguments wrapped up just after 2 p.m., and what a closing it was as defense attorneys attempted to drive home reasonable doubt, but prosecutors got the final word, telling jurors It was Antonio Armstrong Jr. who shot and killed his parents as they slept in their Bellaire home on July 2016.
”To commit the crime that occurred in this case, you have to be evil,” Defense Attorney Rick Detoto told jurors.
"I don’t know if it’s evil. I don’t know if he’s a sociopath. I don’t know but there’s something wrong with him,” countered Prosecutor John Brewer.
So will jurors believe AJ placed these pillows over his parents' heads and shot and killed Dawn and Antonio Armstrong Sr. as they slept, or did investigators make a mistake?
”They don’t have a motive. AJ wasn’t angry. He wasn’t upset,” said Detoto.
”Was it the defendant was falling from his very high spot as the big man on campus (because he flunked out of a private school)? Was it his drug use or drug dealing?” asked prosecuting attorney Lester Blizzard.
"I never said he was an angel, but they’re asking you to take that and jump over to killing two people, not just two people his parents,” Detoto added.
Prosecutors say when the killings occurred AJ was screwing up, grounded for it and very unhappy about it. They say he even fired a practice shot into his bedroom floor before pulling off the killings.
“He piled up that comforter and that pillow and fired into the floor,” Brewer said while showing jurors the hole in the comforter and pillow. He even showed jurors the pillows that covered the victims heads.
According to prosecutors, before the murders, the teenager even explored other options, besides shooting his parents.
”On the morning after, he tried to light his house on fire. He looked up how to rig a car so it explodes when it’s turned on. That was days before the shootings,” said prosecuting attorney Farheen Roche.
Prosecutors say AJ poured gasoline on the carpet, set it on fire, but only put out the flames using a pillow that was still burned in the house after the murders. They also say there was gasoline found in an alcohol bottle in the teen’s room.
”That is a desperate attempt to convict this young man and send him to prison for the rest of his life,” says Detoto.
During the trial, there was a lot of testimony about AJ’s older brother Josh having odd behavior and access to the house.
”He had demonic voices in his head. He said he was satan,” says Defense Attorney Chris Collins.
Brewer wrapped up closing arguments with this: ”Tell him you know the manipulation is over. The lying is over. You didn’t fall for it”.
Jurors are being allowed to go home at 5 p.m. Deliberations are set to continue tomorrow morning.