Kaitlin Armstrong was found guilty of the killing of professional cyclist Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson
After a two-week trial, former yoga instructor Kaitlin Armstrong was found guilty of the targeted killing of professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, who had briefly dated Armstrong’s on-again, off-again boyfriend.
The highly anticipated trial began on Nov. 1 in Austin, Texas — the same city where Wilson was fatally shot at her friend's home on May 11, 2022. After fewer than two hours of deliberation, the jury found Armstrong, 35, guilty of first-degree murder.
Here's everything to know about the case.
The Day of the Murder
On the evening of May 11, 2022, Colin Strickland picked up Wilson, whom he had briefly dated in the fall of 2021 when Strickland and Armstrong were on a break, at her friend’s house at 5:43 p.m.
Wilson, who had just arrived in town to compete in the 157-mile Gravel Locos bicycle race, and Strickland went for a swim at Deep Eddy swimming pool, shared a meal and rum drinks at nearby Pool Burger café before Strickland dropped Wilson off at her friend’s home.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Armstrong looked up Wilson on the Strava fitness app at 4:54 p.m. — five minutes after Strickland and Wilson exchanged a text message before meeting up that evening.
Later that night, Caitlin Cash, a friend Wilson was staying with while in Austin, arrived home from dinner at 9:45 p.m. and found Wilson lying on the bathroom floor.
“I can’t tell what’s happened,” she told a 911 operator. “She is not awake, and there is blood all over her face.”
Police searched through cameras in the neighborhood and spotted a black 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, like the one Armstrong owned, on video surveillance at 8:37 p.m., one minute after an electronic lock recorded Wilson arriving.
The Jeep was traced to the address of Armstrong and Strickland. After obtaining a search warrant of the couple’s house on May 12, investigators found a 9mm handgun belonging to Armstrong that matched shell casings found at the crime scene.
Armstrong Arrested and Released
After being arrested at home on May 12 for a misdemeanor theft warrant — in which she allegedly had Botox injections at an Austin medical spa in 2018 and left without paying — Armstrong was questioned by police and released. The day after the interview, on May 13, Armstrong sold her Jeep at a South Austin CarMax dealership for $12,000, prosecutors said.
Flight to Costa Rica
Prosecutors said that on May 14, the day after Armstrong sold her car to CarMax, she flew to Houston before boarding a Southwest flight to New York, where her sister lives. On May 18, Armstrong took United Airlines flight 1222 at 5:09 p.m. from Newark International Airport to San Jose, Costa Rica, with a ticket purchased in her sister’s name.
On May 20, U.S. Marshals release a poster identifying Armstrong as “wanted” after Austin police asked for federal assistance in apprehending her.
Incognito in a Beach Town
Armstrong showed up in the beach town of Santa Teresa where she introduced herself as “Ari” to fellow travelers and locals in the late spring of 2022.
While there, she stayed at Don Jon’s where she sent most days on her laptop computer in the hotel’s common area, occasionally joining others for drinks at a local bar. Just weeks into her stay, she traveled to San Jose where she, under the name Allison Page, spent more than $6,000 on facial plastic surgery to alter her appearance.
Extradition to Texas
By June 23, U.S. Marshals were interviewing people in Santa Teresa. Six days later, US Marshals tracked down Armstrong at Don Jon’s where she was sitting at a table in the patio area.
“Initially it did not appear to be her, but as I got closer, I realized it was her,” Emir Perez with the U.S. Marshals told the jury. “It appeared she had a bandage on her nose and her lips were a bit swollen. Her hair was a little bit lighter.“ Armstrong is transported to the local jail and then extradited back to Texas to face prosecution.
Attempted Escape, Trial and Verdict
Three weeks before her trial, on Oct. 11, Armstrong escaped custody while being escorted from a doctor’s appointment outside the jail facility, leading corrections officers on a mile-long foot chase during which she attempted to scale a six-foot fence before she was caught.
Opening statements of her murder trial began on Nov. 1 in an Austin courthouse, where prosecutors called more than two dozen witnesses including Colin Strickland and Nicole Mertz, a friend of Armstrong’s.
Armstrong’s friend Nicole Mertz testified that when Wilson traveled to Austin in late October 2021 to visit Strickland, she was visibly angry when Wilson arrived at a local restaurant where Armstrong’s and Strickland’s friends had gathered.
“I asked Kaitlin if Colin ever started dating anyone else seriously, what would she do? And she said, ‘I would kill her,'” Mertz said.
On Nov. 16, two hours after a jury began deliberating, Armstrong was found guilty of murder in the death of Wilson.
• With reporting by KRISTEN O'BRIEN
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