A jury has found Kaitlin Armstrong guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Texas in May 2022.
In Texas, the conviction carries a possible sentence up to 99 years in prison.
Armstrong’s case drew national attention after she traveled to Costa Rica and went missing for more than 40 days following the murder. Armstrong’s then-boyfriend, Colin Strickland, is another cyclist and the last person seen with Wilson before her death.
Strickland testified during the trial that he had a brief romantic relationship with Wilson in the fall of 2021 while his relationship with Armstrong was on a break. The state sought to paint Armstrong as a jealous girlfriend who had access to Strickland’s text communications and used a geolocation app to track Wilson.
The defense has maintained that police neglected to test all evidence and consider other suspects.
In 2022, Armstrong pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge in Wilson’s killing.
Cyclist found dead days before race
Wilson, 25, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds at the home of a friend in Austin, authorities said, three days before she was set to compete in the Gravel Locos bike race, a 157-mile race in Texas.
She had told her friend she was going for an afternoon swim with Strickland, who later told police he and Wilson swam and ate dinner, and he dropped her off at a friend’s home, according to an arrest affidavit in Travis County District Court.
Police issued a homicide warrant on May 17, 2022, for Armstrong. The affidavit for her arrest pointed in part to video surveillance obtained by investigators showing a vehicle similar to hers near the home shortly before Wilson’s body was found.
Armstrong was captured in Costa Rica on June 29, 2022, and was deported to the United States on July 2 to face a murder charge. She faces a separate federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
A spokesperson for the US Marshals Service said authorities believed Armstrong used the passport of a close associate to go to Costa Rica and while there used several aliases while moving several times to a new town, CNN previously reported.
Armstrong was detained for violating Costa Rican law for fraudulently using a passport, according to Marshals spokesperson Brandon Filla.
Footage captured screams, prosecution said
During opening statements at the trial earlier this month, prosecutor Rickey Jones told the jury, “The last thing Mo did on this Earth was scream in terror.”
“Those scream s are followed by Pow! Pow! Two gunshots – one to the front of the head, one to the side of the head that hits the index finger as it passes. You won’t hear any more screams after that.”
The prosecutor said audio from surveillance footage captured the sound of the screams.
Defense attorney Geoffrey Puryear said Armstrong is a “woman trapped in a nightmare of circumstantial evidence.”
“You won’t hear – and you didn’t hear – about any camera footage showing Kaitlin Armstrong at the scene of this shooting, despite there being tons of cameras in the area,” Puryear told the jury on November 1. “Not one captures Kaitlin Armstrong at that scene.”
The opening statements were delivered just weeks after Armstrong attempted to flee custody during a doctor’s appointment, which resulted in an additional felony charge of escape causing bodily injury, according to court documents.
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