HOUSTON - Testimony has ended in the trial for Antonio Armstrong Jr. who was charged with murdering his parents back in 2016, but defense attorneys say the wrong brother is on trial.
Josh Armstrong’s younger brother may be the one on trial, but most of the testimony today has been about Josh's mental health.
Prosecutors in the capital murder trial for Antonio Armstrong Jr. insist Josh Armstrong's mental health spiraled out of control after their parents, Antonio Sr. and Dawn Armstrong, were murdered in July 2016.
Josh and AJ’s little sister Kayra, who was just 12 at the time, testified when Josh left college in May 2016, "It was like he was there but wasn’t there. He stopped caring about himself, hygiene, haircuts…he would talk to himself."
According to medical records after the murders, Josh was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was "hallucinating, hearing voices, had a plan to sacrifice an animal, and had homicidal ideations."
Defense forensic psychiatrist Dr. Mark Moeller testified he believes Josh struggled with mental illness before his parents were killed saying, "It would be very unlikely the murders would have provoked this illness. It doesn’t happen that way."
There’s a line in Josh's medical records saying, "patient reports witnessing his parents' murders." Prosecutors say this could be because Josh was at the scene when his parents were brought out after they were shot.
Prosecuting attorneys also pointed out to jurors there's "a stigma with mental illness. A lot of people view people with mental illness as scary instead of showing compassion... mental illness doesn’t equal murderer."
In the days before the murders, prosecutors say AJ test-fired the murder weapon and sent a bullet through the floor of his room. They also told jurors he used gasoline to set a fire and "if this fire had caught, (the) parents would have had no way out of the house."
A prosecution forensic psychiatrist said the crime scene is inconsistent with someone suffering psychosis and suggests not only planning but "whoever did this was thinking rationally and wanted to throw investigators off."
According to prosecutors, AJ was upset with his parents after they gave Josh his Mustang and AJ had to take Josh’s truck because the parents say he was getting into a lot of trouble for failing grades, lying, marijuana, and alcohol use.
Defense attorneys insist AJ wasn't angry the night his parents were murdered and no one testified to the contrary. However, prosecutors say they have proof AJ wasn’t being honest in the hours before his parents were shot to death.
A data expert testified he was texting himself, pretending to have a conversation with a boy from school, and sending his girlfriend screenshots of the phony discussion.
Closing arguments for the trial are expected to happen on Monday.