Criminal Justice

A.J. Armstrong transferred to state prison in South Texas after capital murder conviction

Armstrong, 23, arrived at the Garza West Unit in Beeville on Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He was convicted of shooting his parents to death in Houston when he was a teenager in 2016.


Antonio Armstrong Jr.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
This photo of convicted murderer Antonio “A.J.” Armstrong Jr. was taken upon his arrival to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Garza West Unit in Beeville on Sept. 19, 2023.

Antonio “A.J.” Armstrong Jr. was transferred to a state prison in South Texas this week, about a month after being convicted of shooting his parents to death by a Harris County jury.

Armstrong, 23, was found guilty of capital murder in the 2016 deaths of Dawn and Antonio Armstrong Sr., the latter of whom was an All-American football player at Texas A&M before a brief career in the NFL. They were shot in the head with Armstrong Sr.'s .22-caliber pistol while sleeping in the family's townhome in the Bellaire area of Houston.

The younger Armstrong, who was 16 at the time of the murders, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 40 years. He had been in the Harris County Jail since his Aug. 16 conviction and was transferred Tuesday to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Garza West Unit in Beeville, which is about 60 miles north of Corpus Christi.

It is unclear whether Armstrong will serve his sentence there or subsequently be transferred to another state prison. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) spokesperson Amanda Hernandez declined to answer questions seeking clarity about that, saying the department only releases information about where an inmate is currently assigned.

The Garza West Unit is an all-male prison with a capacity of 2,278 inmates and is used partly as a prisoner intake facility, according to information on the TDCJ website. It had an inmate population of 2,180 as of Friday, Hernandez said.

Inmate information for Armstrong on the TDCJ website shows he is eligible to have visitors. It also shows he will be eligible for parole on Aug. 3, 2063.

Armstrong was convicted after two previous juries, in 2019 and 2022, could not come to a consensus on a verdict. On Sept. 14, nearly a month after his conviction, a new attorney for Armstrong filed a motion in Harris County court requesting a fourth trial.

The motion claimed the guilty verdict should be voided because of a series of purported issues, including a question about whether Armstrong should have been tried as an adult or a juvenile. It also questioned the credibility of an expert witness for the prosecution who presented damning new evidence in the most recent trial, and claims the Harris County District Attorney's Office "committed misconduct" by not informing Armstrong's defense team about an evidence-planting complaint made against the witness in 2019.

While the jury was deliberating prior to Armstrong's conviction, another attorney representing him filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Houston, claiming the aforementioned DNA evidence was planted by the Houston Police Department. That lawsuit is pending.

Adam Zuvanich

Adam Zuvanich

Digital Content Producer

Adam Zuvanich writes locally relevant digital news stories for Houston Public Media. He grew up in the Houston area and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas before working as a sportswriter in Austin, Lubbock, Odessa, St. Louis and San Antonio. Zuvanich returned home to Houston and made...

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