Prosecutors on Wednesday laid out new details of their murder case against Kaitlin Armstrong, including the allegation that the yoga teacher stood over elite cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson and fired a third and final shot into her heart—and the revelation that it was captured on audio.
“The last thing Mo Wilson did on this earth was scream in terror,” Travis County Assistant District Attorney Rickey Jones told jurors in opening statements.
“You will hear those screams.”
As the prosecutor spoke, Armstrong sat silently at the defense table, with Wilson’s family and Armstrong’s father behind her in the packed gallery of the Texas courtroom.
Prosecutors portrayed Armstrong as a woman consumed with jealousy that her boyfriend, cyclist Colin Strickland, had secretly maintained a friendship with Wilson after a brief fling. They told jurors that Armstrong ambushed Wilson just nine days after she snooped on Strickland’s messages. In later messages, Wilson learned that they were rendezvousing ahead of an Austin gravel race.
Armstrong went to the Austin home where Wilson was staying with a friend, shot her twice in the head and then stood over her and put the last bullet in her heart, Jones said.
After the May 11, 2022, murder, Armstrong allegedly took drastic steps to vanish, selling her car, fleeing to Costa Rica, and spending thousands on plastic surgery. Her disappearance spurred an international manhunt for 43 days until she was captured in June 2022. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of up to 99 years in prison.
Her attorney, Geoffrey Puryear, urged jurors on Monday to use common sense during the anticipated two-week trial. In an attempt to poke holes in the prosecution’s evidence, he claimed the jurors will be shown “unscientific” data that does not support the DA’s case.
“I want to talk about what you didn’t hear about. You didn’t hear that not one witness saw Kaitlin Armstrong allegedly commit this murder,” Puryear added in his brief open statements. “Not one. Because there isn’t one.”
Jones, however, walked jurors through a detailed timeline that he said will prove Armstrong murdered Wilson, known in the cycling world as “the winningest woman in the American off-road scene,” in a jealous rage.
The prosecutor explained to the jury that Armstrong and Strickland began dating in 2019 and quickly became business partners. And while the two broke up several times and dated other people, they continued to live together and maintained access to each other’s messages and electronics.
During one of those breaks, Strickland briefly dated Wilson in October 2021 after meeting her at a cycling event. The brief fling infuriated Armstrong and prompted her to call and confront Wilson, Jones said. Her anger led Strickland to change Wilson’s name on his phone to shield his friendship with Armstrong.
Prosecutors said that while Strickland was on a trip to California on May 2, 2022, Armstrong viewed his messages and looked up pictures of Wilson on her phone. That was just days before Wilson arrived in Austin to stay with her friend, Caitlin Cash, ahead of the scheduled gravel race.
On the night of the murder, Strickland invited Wilson to go swimming at Deep Eddy’s pool, but told Armstrong he was just running errands.
Strickland dropped off Wilson at Cash’s home around 8:30 p.m. A minute later, surveillance footage shows Armstrong’s 2012 Jeep Cherokee in an alley next to the downtown Austin apartment, Jones said. The murder occurred around 9:13 p.m., according to a Ring doorbell cam and the apartment’s alarm system.
Jones told jurors that Armstrong’s DNA evidence was also found on Wilson’s bike, which was discarded in the bushes about 20 yards from the apartment.
The next day, investigators went to Strickland’s home to question him about Wilson’s final moments. He admitted to spending the evening with Wilson and confirmed the car seen in the Ring footage was his girlfriend’s Jeep. Investigators also found a 9mm handgun at the home, which Strickland said he bought Armstrong prior to the murder.
During her police interview, Armstrong could not explain why her car was near the murder scene and denied any knowledge of her boyfriend’s friendship with Wilson.
“I didn’t have any idea that he saw or went out with this girl… as of recently,” Armstrong said, according to her arrest affidavit.
Police considered her a person of interest but she was released because an open misdemeanor warrant for allegedly skipping out on a Botox bill was not valid. Moments after she left the police, prosecutors allege, Armstrong took action to execute her escape. She sold her Jeep for $12,200 and flew to New York. Using a credit card and her sister’s name and passport, Armstrong then boarded a flight to Costa Rica.
There, she used several different names and underwent a $6,425 cosmetic procedure, Jones said. For over a month, Armstrong stayed under the radar in Costa Rica by staying in hostels and teaching at various yoga establishments. While on the run, Armstrong also kept tabs on the investigation, Jones said.
Investigators learned of Armstrong’s location after she took a bus from San Jose to Jaco Beach, where she left a paper trail with one of her aliases. She was arrested at Don John’s Lodge in Saint Teresa on June 30, 2022. Police discovered two passports and a plastic surgery receipt in her hostel lock box.
Armstrong is also facing separate charges after attempting to escape custody just before her trial. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office said Armstrong was a fugitive for about 10 minutes on Oct. 11 when she ran from two deputies who escorted her to a medical appointment. She was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center for treatment after the incident.
The post Prosecutors Have Audio of Cyclist’s Cold-Blooded Love Murder appeared first on The Daily Beast.