Kaitlin Armstrong was discovered responsible of first-degree homicide on Thursday within the loss of life of Moriah Wilson, an expert bicycle owner who had briefly dated Ms. Armstrong’s boyfriend and was killed whereas visiting Austin, Texas, for a motorbike race 18 months in the past.
State District Decide Brenda Kennedy mentioned that the jury delivered the responsible verdict in opposition to Ms. Armstrong after deliberating for about two hours. After the decision was introduced, extra witnesses have been referred to as to testify because the court docket sought to find out what the sentence will probably be earlier than going into recess late within the afternoon.
It was unclear when Ms. Armstrong can be sentenced. Her lawyer declined to remark, citing a gag order within the case, which drew worldwide consideration as particulars in regards to the investigation and Ms. Armstrong’s whereabouts slowly emerged.
Rickey Jones, a state prosecutor, mentioned in his opening assertion that Ms. Armstrong was “not comfortable” that her boyfriend on the time, Colin Strickland, had been speaking with Ms. Wilson. Mr. Strickland and Ms. Armstrong had an “on-and-off-again” relationship and lived collectively, Mr. Jones mentioned, although he had briefly dated Ms. Wilson throughout an off-period in October 2021.
Ms. Wilson was discovered unconscious and bleeding from gunshot wounds at a buddy’s condominium on Could 11, 2022, and was pronounced lifeless on the scene. She had gone swimming with Mr. Strickland hours earlier than her loss of life.
Mr. Jones mentioned that Ms. Armstrong’s Jeep had been seen close to the condominium lower than an hour earlier than gunshots have been heard. Ms. Armstrong additionally owned a handgun that was used within the capturing, Mr. Jones mentioned.
The Austin Police Division named Ms. Armstrong, now 35, as a suspect and issued a warrant for her arrest six days after Ms. Wilson, 25, was killed. By then, Ms. Armstrong had left Texas for New York and would quickly fly to Costa Rica, the place she evaded the authorities for 43 days and tried to ascertain herself as a yoga trainer, in accordance with the U.S. Marshals Service. Weeks earlier than the trial started, Ms. Armstrong tried to flee police custody, main corrections officers on a short chase.
Ms. Wilson, who lived in San Francisco and was raised in Vermont, was a rising star within the biking world, notably within the self-discipline of gravel cycling, a mix of mountain biking and street biking, earlier than she was killed. She received a 137-mile off-road race, the Belgian Waffle Journey California, by 25 minutes in April 2022, and had lately determined to go away her job as a requirement planner at Specialised Bicycles to give attention to biking full-time.
Ms. Wilson, often known as Mo, was trying ahead to months of intense races when she traveled to Austin in Could 2022 for the 150-mile Gravel Locos in close by Hico, Texas, she informed VeloNews, a aggressive biking journal, earlier that month.
Mr. Jones mentioned that on the day Ms. Wilson was killed, she went on a three-mile bike journey after which visited the Deep Eddy Pool with Mr. Strickland, 36, additionally an expert bicycle owner.
Mr. Strickland mentioned in a statement in May 2022, after Ms. Wilson’s loss of life, that when she visited Austin, their relationship was “platonic.” That month, Ms. Wilson’s household additionally said in a statement that she was “not in a romantic relationship with anybody” on the time of her loss of life.
Mr. Strickland testified at trial that Ms. Armstrong had had entry to his monetary information, his electronic mail and his Instagram account as a result of she managed a enterprise for him, The Austin American-Statesman reported.
Ms. Armstrong’s attorneys mentioned through the trial that the police had named Ms. Armstrong because the suspect too shortly and that another person may have killed Ms. Wilson. Ms. Armstrong didn’t testify.
Rick Cofer, a lawyer for Ms. Armstrong, mentioned that the case in opposition to her was based mostly “on assumptions, affirmation bias and a scarcity of direct proof.”
Mr. Cofer mentioned that suggesting Ms. Armstrong had killed Ms. Wilson as a result of she was jealous was a straightforward narrative for prosecutors. “Jealousy is a essentially human emotion,” he mentioned.
The day after Ms. Wilson was killed, the police questioned Ms. Armstrong in regards to the loss of life, having discovered that she had a Jeep just like the one seen exterior the condominium. She was launched.
Ms. Armstrong then bought her black Jeep Grand Cherokee for $12,200 and flew to New York on Could 14, 2022. Three days later, the Austin Police Division issued a warrant for her arrest. And on Could 18, she used a fraudulent passport to fly to San José, Costa Rica, from Newark, N.J., the U.S. Marshals Service mentioned.
Ms. Armstrong was on the run for 43 days earlier than she was arrested in Costa Rica in June 2022, after altering her look and trying to arrange a yoga-teaching enterprise. She was discovered at a hostel in Santa Teresa Seaside in Provincia de Puntarenas on Costa Rica’s west coast, the U.S. Marshals Service mentioned.
Ms. Armstrong had used a number of aliases in Costa Rica and had reduce her hair and dyed it brown, Brandon Filla, a deputy U.S. marshal, mentioned at a information convention in July 2022. When she was arrested, she additionally had a bandage on her nostril and discoloration underneath her eyes, which she mentioned was attributable to a surfboard accident, Mr. Filla mentioned. Within the trial, the prosecution mentioned Ms. Armstrong had undergone cosmetic surgery in Costa Rica.
Ms. Armstrong was extradited to america and arrived in Austin on July 5, 2022. She pleaded not responsible later that month.
Because the trial approached, Ms. Armstrong tried to flee police custody on Oct. 11.
Kristen Darkish, a spokeswoman for the Travis County Sheriff’s Workplace, mentioned Ms. Armstrong ran from two corrections officers whereas leaving a medical appointment and made it a few block and a half earlier than she was recaptured.