AJ Armstrong Third Trial: Jury selection begins for man accused of killing parents in 2016
HOUSTON - The third trial for AJ Armstrong, who's charged with killing his parents, got underway with jury selection starting Monday morning.
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Jury selection is expected to take the entire month of May because this jury is being selected with Individual Voir Dire, where potential jurors are questioned individually, not as a group, in order to make sure jurors don't have extensive knowledge of this 7-year-old case.
Monday morning started with a jury pool of 74 people. Antonio Armstrong Jr. introduced himself to the potential jurors as Antonio and not as AJ.
As those in the jury pool were questioned about how much they know about the case, 24 of the 74 said they have heard local news coverage about it.
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At least two told the judge they have already formed an opinion and can't be impartial.
Antonio Junior is charged with shooting his parents Antonio Sr. and Dawn Armstrong to death as they slept in their Bellaire home back in July 2016 when he was 16 years old. The couple was killed with Antonio Sr's handgun, which police investigators found on the family's kitchen counter.
Armstrong's first trial in 2019 and second in October of last year, both ended in hung juries, with jurors unable to agree on a unanimous verdict. Dawn's parents are here for the start of their grandson's third trial.
The judge began this trial by denying the defense and state's motions for continuance regarding the allegation that an alternate juror in Armstrong's second trial had a relationship with an Assistant District Attorney that wasn't involved with the Armstrong case.
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Prosecutors presented their own request to the judge calling the defense's filing a "groundless, bad-faith motion...in what is clearly another attempt to delay proceedings."
The state's motion goes on to say it was "an attempt to stir up media attention in the defendant's favor" and that the defense's motion "deliberately misrepresented facts...in a blatant attempt to discredit the trial prosecutors."
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Because of the defense's filing last week, prosecutors were asking the judge to require motions to remain private until the judge reviews them.
When questioned about that motion and the news coverage surrounding it only one potential juror had heard of it. Testimony in this third trial for Antonio Armstrong Jr. is expected to begin June 5, 2023.