Teen charged in parents’ murder to appear in Harris County court as adult for first time

HOUSTON — The teen accused of gunning down both of his parents at their southwest Houston home over the summer will be going before a Harris County judge as an adult for the first time Monday morning, according to court records.

Antonio Armstrong Jr. was charged with capital murder after the deaths of Dawn and Antonio Armstrong in the early morning hours of Jul. 29, 2016 at their home on Palmetto at Mapleridge.

The mother died at the scene, and the father suffered a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The couple had three children; an adult son, a 12-year-old daughter and Antonio Armstrong Jr, who goes by the nickname “AJ.”

Antonio Armstrong Jr. (left) with his 12-year-old sister and adult brother.

According to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Antonio Armstrong Jr. told investigators that he saw a masked man inside the house on the night of the shooting and had to hide in a closet. Investigators said there were no signs of forced entry and the teen actually had to turn off the alarm when officers arrived.

Investigators said a note was also found inside the house, but prosecutors would not disclose what it said.

During a juvenile court hearing on March 8, a judge ruled the teen would be tried as an adult and transferred to a Harris County jail.

“This is a good, all-American family. This a good kid. It just doesn’t make any sense,” defense lawyer Rick Detoto said after court.

The motive for the shooting remains unknown, but people who knew the Armstrongs called them the “All-American family.”

Antonio Armstrong is a former Texas A & M football player who went on to play professionally for the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins.

According to Facebook profile information, the couple owned First Class Training- Bellaire, a fitness facility providing personal and athletic training, corporate wellness, pilates and group classes.  Antonio Armstrong was also a motivational speaker, who spoke encouraging words on his “Strong Talk” YouTube page.

The couple was featured in an article on Love. Work. Repeat., an online magazine created to promote healthy marriages and families.  In their article, they detailed how they met, which was at church, and what kept them together. They said their keys to making their marriage work were spending time together, not focusing on the small things in life and having date nights every Wednesday.

“Stick to your commitment, work out all differences and don’t waste time majoring on the minor things,” Antonio told L.W.R.

The magazine posted condolences for the family on its social media page.