DA’s office to mull death penalty in 2006 Donna murder

EDINBURG —The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office requested more time Monday to decide whether they will again seek the death penalty against a man who won a new punishment trial on appeal.

Douglas Armstrong was sentenced to death in 2007 for the previous year’s murder of Rafael Castelan in Donna.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Armstrong, 47, a retrial for the punishment phase in November 2017, and the assistant district attorneys trying the case were expected to announce their decision Monday.

District Judge Noe Gonzalez granted the state’s request for additional time, telling Armstrong the state has “a very complex decision to make.”

Gonzalez gave the DA’s office until March 19 to determine whether to seek the death penalty, and thus go to trial, or have Armstrong re-sentenced to life in prison without parole, the automatic sentence for a capital felony in Texas.

Both parties will return to court for a pre-trial hearing that day.