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Former NFL player’s son gets life in prison for murder of his parents

 August 17, 2023

A.J. Armstrong, the 23-year-old son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong, was found guilty of the double homicide of his parents after three trials.

The jury in Houston reached the verdict after deliberating for around 10 hours, reviewing over 40 hours of testimony from 31 witnesses over the course of 11 days, as the Daily Mail reported.

Armstrong, who was only 16 at the time of the murders, was sentenced to life imprisonment but will have the possibility of parole after 40 years.

As he was a minor at the time of the crime, he was spared the potential of facing the death penalty.

Timeline of Events Leading to Conviction

The journey to this verdict was filled with emotion and legal complexity. Armstrong married his high school sweetheart, Kate Ober, during the seven-year gap between the murders and the guilty verdict.

Ober, who shares a son with Armstrong, was visibly distressed in court on Wednesday.

In an interview conducted in January Armstrong said he was in "complete shock" after being accused of the heinous crimes stating, "There's no way possible. I couldn't even fathom the idea of killing my parents," People reported.

Armstrong's father, Antonio Armstrong Sr., had been a former linebacker for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

The murders took place in 2016, when the parents were shot in the head, with pillows placed over their faces as they slept in their Texas home.

The prosecutors worked diligently to prove that the younger Armstrong had planned and practiced the killings.

This effort included detailed evidence, such as A.J. Armstrong's experimentation with silencing a gun using blankets and pillows.

During an investigation of the Armstrong family home, authorities discovered a crack pipe and pillow-bearing bullet holes in A.J.'s room.

Defense Efforts and Ongoing Legal Battles

Defense attorney Rick Detoto described his client as devastated but commended his strength and the support of his family.

Armstrong's defense team had made various attempts to create doubt regarding his guilt, even going so far as to suggest his older half-brother, Josh, as a potential suspect.

The state countered these allegations with text messages between Antonio Sr., Dawn, and Josh, showing that Josh had a loving and normal relationship with his parents.

Furthermore, Josh did not reside with the family at the time of the murders, strengthening the prosecution's case.

On Tuesday, A.J. Armstrong filed a federal lawsuit against the Houston Police Department, claiming that evidence was allegedly planted to secure a false conviction.  Armstrong's attorneys have indicated that they plan to appeal the verdict.