What Did Antonio Armstrong Jr. Do? Details Behind a Gruesome Crime and Guilty Verdict

Antonio Armstrong Jr. was a 16-year-old kid living with his seemingly-loving family in Texas. What did he do to change all of that on July 29, 2016?

Emma Saletta - Author

Aug. 19 2023, Published 5:24 p.m. ET

Antonio Armstrong was a former NFL player who shared three children with his wife Dawn Armstrong. They lived in Houston, Texas with their three children, including their 16-year-old son Antonio Armstrong Jr., a teenager who would gain more publicity than his siblings after the deaths of their parents in 2016.

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The Armstrongs died on July 29, 2016, with parent one being pronounced dead in their bedroom, and another dying later that night in a hospital. It did not take long for the culprit to be caught, because the culprit was living under the parents' roof.

Armstrong Jr. was arrested and charged with his mom and dad's murders shortly after the crime and it would become a difficult seven year trial from there. Now that it's finally come to an end, the Armstrongs' now 23-year-old son will possibly spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A motive behind the murders became clear throughout the initial investigation in 2016. But what exactly was it? We're taking a look back at the chilling events of July 29, 2016 below.

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The motive behind what Antonio Armstrong Jr. did is quite clear.

Dawn, Antonio Jr., and Antonio Armstrong after a football game prior to his school expulsion
Source: YouTube/ABC13Houston

Dawn, Antonio Jr., and Antonio Armstrong after a football game prior to his school expulsion

Prior to the murders, the Armstrongs had scolded their son for being kicked out of school, receiving failing grades, and smoking marijuana. This and more likely led to the then teenager taking the disturbing steps to conduct what he thought may have been the perfect murder to get away with.

It was revealed during the trial that Armstrong Jr. used the murder weapon to shoot a pillow and a blanket inside his bedroom. Prosecutors also said that he lit a fire outside his parents' bedroom door two nights before the killings.

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After days of preparation, he shot both his mother and father while they were sleeping after placing pillows over their heads. He would go on to call 911 after the shooting, and write a note that said, “I have been watching you for a long time. Come get me.”

Did mental health of another family member play a role in what happened to Antonio Armstrong Jr.?

Josh, Dawn, Kyra, Antonio, and Antonio Jr. at an event before Dawn and Antonio were killed
Source: YouTube/FOX26Houston

Josh, Dawn, Kyra, Antonio, and Antonio Jr. at an event before Dawn and Antonio were killed

Some people who may have committed crimes use defenses that involve other family members. This case was no different. At the trial the defense talked about the Armstrongs' eldest son Josh, who suffered severe mental health issues including paranoia and schizophrenia.

However, this tactic was shut down quickly, and medical records along with an alibi from their eldest son's then girlfriend put that theory to rest.

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From there, it became apparent that Armstrong Jr. was indeed the one who murdered his parents, and in front of the woman who was at this point his wife, Kate Armstrong, and his family, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

Like Mark Anthony Duke and Carlos Hallowell, Armstrong Jr. was not eligible for the death penalty due to committing these murders as a minor.

However, he and defense attorney Rick DeToto are planning to appeal the verdict. Armstrong Jr. has continued to maintain his innocence since his 2016 arrest.

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