A Texas jury has found Kaitlin Armstrong guilty of the murder of cyclist Anna "Mo" Wilson on Thursday afternoon.
The Associated Press reports that following the morning's closing statements, the Travis County jury deliberated for less than three hours before reaching its verdict. The first-degree murder conviction could mean a lifetime behind bars for Armstrong, whose crime gripped the cycling world.
Within days of Wilson's murder, Armstrong, 35, fled the country and changed her appearance. She evaded capture for 43 days but was apprehended on June 29, 2022, in Costa Rica. Armstrong pleaded not guilty and has been detained at the Travis County Correctional Complex on a $3.5 million bond. In October, within weeks of the start of her trial, Armstrong again tried to escape but was captured nearly immediately.
The murder trial started on October 31, 2023 and lasted two weeks with nearly 40 people delivering testimonies. Armstrong faces a first-degree murder charge with a possible sentence of 5 to 99 years in prison.
Jury will begin deliberating the sentence starting 9 a.m. local time on Friday.
This story is ongoing — we are currently awaiting the sentencing. The story will be updated as soon as more information is available.
Wilson was a 25-year-old up-and-coming talent in the American gravel scene. On May 11, 2022, she was found dead with three gunshot wounds in her friend's home in Austin, Texas. Wilson had traveled to Texas to compete in the Gravel Locos race.
The following day, Red Bull athlete Colin Strickland and his girlfriend, Kaitlin Armstrong, were wanted for questioning.
Strickland had been the last to see Wilson. The pair had gone for a swim at Deep Eddy Municipal Pool, followed by dinner at Pool Burger. Strickland had then given Wilson a ride back to her friend's apartment on his motorcycle, dropping her off around 8:30 p.m.
In talking to the police, Strickland revealed that he and Wilson had a brief romantic relationship in the past, while he and Armstrong had briefly broken up, but that after that weeklong romance, Wilson and Strickland remained a strictly "platonic and professional" relationship. Strickland later reconciled with Armstrong, who was both his romantic and business partner.
When Wilson's friend returned to her home around 10 p.m. that evening, she found Wilson unresponsive and covered in blood on the bathroom floor. Wilson was pronounced dead after the arrival of the police.
During the trial, the prosecution presented numerous pieces of evidence for the jury’s consideration, including surveillance video from a doorbell camera that does not show Armstrong murdering Wilson, but does include audible gunshots at the time of the murder. Wilson’s race bike was recovered behind the house in a black garbage bag which, the prosecution showed, had Armstrong’s DNA on it.
A neighbor's security camera captured footage of a black Jeep Cherokee pulling up to the apartment. Police matched the SUV to a similar one registered to Strickland and Armstrong's residence.
The U.S. Marshall's office later reported that Armstrong sold this vehicle to a CarMax dealership on May 13, two days after Wilson's death and one day after being questioned by the Austin police.
Using her sister's passport, Armstrong then left the city via the Austin airport on May 14, and when a homicide warrant for Armstrong was issued on May 17, she couldn't be located. Armstrong had fled to Costa Rica, where she was detained after a 41-day fugitive hunt.
During the trial's opening statements, Armstrong’s defense attorneys, Geoffrey Puryear, argued that it was the lack of video surveillance footage directly showing Wilson’s murder occurring that absolves Armstrong of guilt.
“I want to talk to you about what you didn’t hear about,” said Puryear. “Not one witness saw Kaitlin Armstrong allegedly commit this murder. Because there isn’t one.”
He referred to Armstrong as "a woman trapped in a nightmare of circumstantial evidence" and reminded jurors that Armstrong must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In regards to the 43-day 'man hunt' that eventually located Armstrong in Costa Rica following Wilson's murder, Puryear said Armstrong had been free to leave and referred to her as a woman who loves to travel and is passionate about her yoga practice. It was therefore not out of the ordinary for her to leave on a moment's notice to a foreign country.
Armstrong did not testify during the trial.
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