AJ Armstrong's lawyers say his older brother should stand trial and focus on his mental health

AJ Armstrong’s lawyers say his older brother should stand trial and focus on his mental health

The testimony ended in the trial of Antonio Armstrong Jr., who was charged with the 2016 murder of his parents, but defense attorneys say the wrong brother is on trial.

Josh Armstrong’s younger brother may be the one on trial, but most of today’s testimony revolves around Josh’s mental health.

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Prosecutors in the Antonio Armstrong Jr. capital murder trial insist Josh Armstrong’s mental health spiraled out of control after their parents, Antonio Sr. and Dawn Armstrong, were murdered in July 2016.

Josh and AJ’s little sister Kayra, who was just 12 at the time, testified when Josh left college in May 2016: “It was like he was there but not there. He stopped caring about him, hygiene, haircuts…he was talking to himself.”

According to medical records after the murders, Josh was diagnosed with schizophrenia and “hallucinated, heard voices, had a plan to sacrifice an animal, and had murderous thoughts.”

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Defense forensic psychiatrist Dr Mark Moeller said he believed Josh was battling mental illness before his parents were killed saying: ‘It would be highly unlikely that the murders caused this illness . It doesn’t happen that way.”

There’s a line in Josh’s medical records that says, “patient reports witnessed the murders of his parents.” Prosecutors say it could be because Josh was at the scene when his parents were taken out after being shot.

Prosecutors also pointed out to jurors that there was “a stigma attached to mental illness. Many people see people with mental illness as scary instead of compassionate…mental illness is not synonymous with murderer.

In the days leading up to the murders, prosecutors said AJ tested the murder weapon and sent a bullet through his bedroom floor. They also told jurors that he used gasoline to start a fire and that “if that fire had caught on, (the) parents would have had no way of getting out of the house.”

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A prosecution forensic psychiatrist said the crime scene was not consistent with someone suffering from psychosis and suggests not only planning, but “whoever did this was thinking rationally and wanted to get rid of investigators”.

Prosecutors say AJ was mad at his parents after they gave his Mustang to Josh and AJ had to take Josh’s truck because parents say he was in a lot of trouble for failing, lying, drinking marijuana and alcohol.

Defense lawyers insist that AJ was not angry the night his parents were murdered and no one has testified to the contrary. However, prosecutors say they have evidence that AJ was not being honest in the hours leading up to his parents’ death.

A data expert testified that he texted each other, pretended to have a conversation with a boy from school and sent his girlfriend screenshots of the bogus chat.

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Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled to take place on Monday.

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