Father of murder suspect calls for investigation into how his son was allowed to walk free

Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 5:29 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2022 at 6:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The father of a man accused of fatally beating a woman on the steps of the Kapolei police station says he and his wife spent two decades working with doctors and the courts trying to help their son.

Tony Armstrong said his 35-year-old son, Michael, has been committed at the State Hospital at least eight times.

Armstrong is accused of fatally beating the woman on Valentine’s Day, shortly after being released from lockup for another violent crime.

In a situation that might leave many families seeking anonymity, Tony Armstrong said in an interview Monday morning, “I am not going to be silent.”

He is choosing to share personal details of their struggle in hopes of bringing awareness to Hawaii’s mental health crisis and holes in the system.

He says his son grew up in Hilo.

“Around 15 was when things began to head in the wrong direction,” he said.

In his early 20s, he said, his son was diagnosed schizoaffective disorder, “which actually has components of schizophrenia and bi-polar.”

From that point on, the 35-year-old bounced in and out of the State Hospital.

Tony Armstrong says doctors would get him stabilized and then he’d be released, usually back to his family or a group home

But it never lasted for more than few months because he says he would go off his medication.

“Each time we’ve gone through this, it’s actually gotten worse. To the point where we were fearful for what he could do. Or what others would do to him just because of his illness,” Tony Armstrong said.

On Feb. 14, Armstrong allegedly beat 48-year-old Linda Johnson to death in front of the Kapolei police substation shortly after being released.

The 35-year-old had been arrested the day prior for assaulting a worker at his group home then punching a police officer.

Tony Armstrong says he’s “not in denial about what his son did,” adding he trusts the courts to determine his fate.

But until then he wants answers about what happened before his son’s release so action can be taken to prevent something like this from happening again.

“There should have been some kind of communication between the group home, the police and the State hospital to find out what they wanted to do,” he said.

Armstrong believes his son should have been immediately sent back to the State Hospital.

He’s calling for a complete investigation into the actions of the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office and police officers who had a hand in his son’s release.

“I will go on every news station until I get contacted by these people and the prosecuting attorney’s office gets held accountable and whatever involvement the police department had in it too,” he said.

HNN asked both the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office and HPD if Armstrong’s mental health history had been reviewed and if any effort was made to contact the state hospital before his release.

Officials from both agencies sent a response declining to comment.

The Armstrong family also released the following statement as it seeks answers:

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