Lawyers for teen charged with murder want case dismissed
It reads like a made-for-TV movie. Business owners Antonio and Dawn Armstrong are murdered in their Bellaire home. Their son is charged with the murder. He maintains his innocence, claiming it was an intruder. Now his defense teams is saying they don't know what they don’t know about that night.
"We've been kept in the dark and we're trying to put everything into the light and figure out what the situation was," said defense attorney Rick DeToto.
DeToto says a family friend came forward shortly after the 2016 murder and told police that Antonio Sr. was involved in a prostitution ring and had been receiving death threats. They say the DA's office told them they didn't find the friend's claims credible but didn't provide any evidence to support it.
DeToto says they just learned the full extent of her claims because they just got a recording of her police interview.
"What if it's true? What if it's true that Antonio Sr. got death threats," DeToto says. "Does that change the complexity of the case? Absolutely!”
They've filed a motion to get the cased dismissed claiming prosecutors held on to evidence that casts doubt on Antonio Jr.'s guilt.
The district attorney's office released this statement about the motion:
“This document was submitted as a standard pre-trial motion by the defense in preparation for an upcoming trial. We welcome the opportunity to present all the facts regarding this matter to a judge- be that in writing or at a hearing, as determined by the court. We reserve additional comment until that time.”
FOX 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico says they may have a point, but it’s not a slam dunk.
"This motion may have been a little bit premature. They haven't gone to trial and they haven't shown the court that they can't procure the evidence," Tritico says.
The case goes to trial September 14.