Antonio Armstrong Jr. Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering His Parents

Antonio Armstrong Jr. Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering His Parents

A Houston jury on Wednesday found 23-year-old Antonio Armstrong Jr. guilty of capital murder for fatally shooting his parents as they slept in their bedroom in 2016, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced. Because he was convicted of capital murder, Armstrong was automatically sentenced to life in prison.

“Antonio Sr. and Dawn died because they were trying to be good parents. Because they wanted their children to do right, not to lie, to work, to be law-abiding contributing adults,” Ogg said. “And for that, they paid with their lives.”

Armstrong Jr. was 16 when he shot his parents as they slept in the master bedroom of their Bellaire-area home on July 29, 2016. He shot both in the head. The teenager had recently been expelled from school and was angry at his parents for disciplining him for misbehaving.

Armstrong Sr. was a standout football player at Houston’s Kashmere High School and was signed by Texas A&M University as a linebacker. He was named Defensive Player of the Game at the 1994 Cotton Bowl and played professionally in the NFL and the Canadian Football League.

The verdict came after about 10 hours of deliberation after more than two weeks of trial. It was the third time that Armstrong was tried in the high-profile case. The earlier two trials ended with hung juries.

He will be eligible for parole after serving 40 years.

Before beginning this trial, state District Judge Kelli Johnson filed a motion for a change of venue because of excessive publicity. Instead of moving the trial to a different jurisdiction, the judge opted to enforce a gag order to keep the litigants from commenting publicly before and during the trial and to have jurors be selected through a weekslong individual voir dire process.

During a news conference after the verdict, Ogg thanked the prosecutors, the Houston Police Department and the 12 jurors and three alternate jurors for their service.

“The community, through those jurors, spoke today, and they found justice for the victims,” she said. “Thank you, prosecutors; thank you, law-enforcement officers; and thank you, jurors.”

Assistant District Attorneys John Jordan and Ryan Trask prosecuted Armstrong the second time and again the third time.

“We needed to try him again because he killed his parents, he killed two people, and the fact that he was youthful makes him all that more dangerous,” Jordan said.

Trask added that the jurors created charts and looked at the all of the evidence before deciding unanimously to find him guilty of capital murder.

“The jury was very confident in their decision,” Trask said.

Jordan is a division chief supervising the DA’s Juvenile Division. Trask is assigned to the DA’s Homicide Division.