17-year-old Antonio “AJ” Armstrong Jr. is being charged as an adult for allegedly killing his parents, Dawn and Antonio Armstrong Sr. on July 29, 2016.
AJ was only 16 years old when he was suspected of shooting his parents while they were asleep in bed. During court hearings, AJ could be seen weeping when photos and video was shown of his parents’ brutal murder. His father, Antonio Sr., was a former Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers linebacker. He later became a motivational speaker and he opened a fitness company called 1st Class Training with his wife. They all lived in an affluent neighborhood in Houston and they had one daughter and two sons, including AJ.
AJ maintains that he’s innocent, believing a masked intruder is responsible for his parents’ death. In a testimony in court, one detective said AJ called 911 and told the dispatcher that he was hiding in a closet after he heard gunshots from his parents’ bedroom. AJ also mentioned to the dispatcher that he saw a masked man in the house. However, when police arrived, they found no evidence of forced entry.
AJ defense continued to argue that no gunshot residue was found on AJ’s clothes that night and his fingerprints were not found on the murder weapon.
Prosecutor Martina Longoria countered the defense’s argument by saying that AJ admitted to a homicide detective that he discharged a gun in his room before his parents were killed. This suggests that he handled the murder weapon, a .22-caliber pistol, that night. AJ’s history has also come into question since he was caught using marijuana by his parents weeks before their death. His parents took away his car and cell phone as part of his punishment. AJ was also removed from his private school last spring for poor academic performance and enrolled in a public school according to the prosecution.
AJ’s attorney, Rick DeToto, warned AJ that he could possibly be tried as an adult based on the offense and the court. After AJ’s adult charges were announced, DeToto said his client was “obviously disappointed.”
If convicted, AJ could receive life in prison with a possibility of parole only after 40 years.