More Time Granted to State in 2006 Capital Murder Case

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EDINBURG – A judge granted the state more time to decide if they’ll seek the death penalty for a man convicted of capital murder.

Douglas Armstrong is accused of killing a Donna man in 2006.

On Monday, the state requested more time to make “a complex decision”. This means Armstrong will continue waiting before knowing what penalty he’ll be given.

Armstrong was found guilty more than 10 years ago in the death of 60-year-old Rafael Castelan.

His guilty ruling was upheld by an appellate court following an appeal in 2007. However, his death row sentence made by a jury wasn’t.

The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office has to decide whether to seek the death penalty again or not. If they chose not to, it leaves Armstrong with life in prison without parole.

If the state seeks the death penalty, evidence will have to be presented to a new jury. The state says they’re requesting more time to review documents and discuss with Castelan’s family before ultimately making their decision.

Armstrong is scheduled to return to court mid-March.

In addition, a local attorney was appointed by the judge to represent Armstrong as a backup in case his out-of-town attorney can’t be present.

Armstrong also requested to be moved with the general jail population, but that’s a decision only the county sheriff can make.

Typically, capital murder felons are kept in some form of isolation.

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