(RightWing.org) – The teenage son of a former NFL player has been convicted of murdering his parents in 2016. AJ Armstrong Jr, who was 16 at the time of the killings, claims he’s innocent. A court disagreed, and now he faces at least 40 years in jail.
On July 29, 2016, former Miami Dolphins and Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Antonio Armstrong and his wife Dawn were found shot in their home near Houston, Texas. Dawn Armstrong was pronounced dead at the scene; Antonio Armstrong died at the hospital. Police quickly arrested the couple’s teenage son for the murders — but getting a conviction proved to be hard work.
The jury in a 2019 trial couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict, with four members believing AJ Armstrong Jr was innocent. The case came back to court in 2022; four jurors voted guilty, but the other eight, while they didn’t believe he was innocent, felt there was reasonable doubt.
That reasonable doubt fell apart in the third trial. Prosecutors relied on the house’s alarm system, which showed no trace of an intruder, and on new DNA evidence that found Antonio Armstrong’s blood on his son’s shirt.
Jurors also heard how AJ had researched how to muffle the sound of a gunshot and practiced techniques; a bullet-holed pillow was found in his room. Both his parents were found with pillows over their faces and gunshot wounds to the head, matching what AJ had experimented with.
Despite the seriousness of his crimes, AJ has been out on bond since 2017; in that time, he married his high school girlfriend, Kate Ober, who fled the court in tears when the guilty verdict was read on August 16. Defense attorney Rick Detoto still insists his client is innocent and pledged to file an appeal; Armstrong himself has filed suit against the Houston PD, claiming cops planted the damning evidence in his room. If those last-ditch efforts fail, he’ll spend life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
Copyright 2023, RightWing.org