NATIONAL NEWS

Woman convicted of killing pro cyclist Anna ‘Mo’ Wilson gets 90 years in prison. What happened?

Nov 17, 2023, 2:54 PM | Updated: 6:03 pm

Kaitlin Armstrong enters the courtroom during the first day of her trial at the Blackwell-Thurman C...

Kaitlin Armstrong enters the courtroom during the first day of her trial at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, in Austin, Texas.. Armstrong is charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of pro cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson. (Mikala Compton/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool)

(Mikala Compton/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The murder trial of a Texas woman charged in the May 2022 shooting death of rising professional cyclist Anna “Mo” Wilson has ended with a guilty verdict and a 90-year prison sentence.

It took jurors only two hours to convict Kaitlin Armstrong of murder on Thursday and just over three hours to decide her sentence on Friday.

Investigators said Armstrong fled the U.S. shortly after Wilson was killed and underwent plastic surgery in an attempt to evade authorities.

Wilson — a Vermont native and former alpine skier at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire — was an emerging star in gravel and mountain bike riding when she was killed in a friend’s apartment in Austin. She had been preparing to participate in a Texas race that she was among the favorites to win.

In the hours before she was killed, Wilson went swimming and had a meal with Armstrong’s boyfriend, former pro cyclist Colin Strickland, with whom Wilson had a brief romantic relationship months earlier.

Investigators say Armstrong gunned down Wilson in a jealous rage, then used her sister’s passport to escape the U.S. before she was tracked down and arrested at a beachside hostel in Costa Rica.

Here’s a look at what happened in the trial:

KEY EVIDENCE

There were no witnesses to the shooting or videos that place Armstrong in the apartment when Wilson was gunned down on May 11, 2022. Prosecutors built their case on a tight web of circumstantial evidence.

Strickland testified that he had to hide Wilson’s phone number from Armstrong under a fake name in his phone. Two of Armstrong’s friends said she told them she wanted to — or could — kill Wilson.

Vehicle satellite records, phone-tracking data and surveillance video from a nearby home showed Armstrong’s Jeep driving around the apartment and parking in an alley shortly before Wilson was killed. Data from Armstrong’s phone showed it had been used that day to track Wilson’s location via a fitness app that she used to chart her training rides.

Investigators also said shell casings near Wilson’s body matched a gun Armstrong owned.

Jurors heard the frantic emergency call from the friend who found Wilson’s body, saw the gruesome police camera footage of first responders performing CPR, and heard audio from a neighbor’s home surveillance system that prosecutors said captured Wilson’s final screams and three gunshots.

Wilson was shot twice in the head, and once through the heart.

ON THE RUN

Police interviewed Armstrong, among others, after Wilson was killed. The day after that interview, Armstrong sold her Jeep for more than $12,000 and headed to Costa Rica, where investigators say she had plastic surgery to change her nose, and she changed her hairstyle and color.

Armstrong evaded capture for 43 days as she moved around Costa Rica trying to establish herself as a yoga instructor before she was finally caught on June 29.

The jury also heard about another escape attempt by Armstrong, on Oct. 11, when she tried to flee two corrections officers who had escorted her to a medical appointment outside jail. Video showed Armstrong, in a striped jail uniform and arm restraints, running and trying to scale a fence.

She was quickly recaptured and faces a separate felony escape attempt charge.

THE DEFENSE

Armstrong’s lawyers spent only a few hours presenting her defense and she did not testify on her own behalf.

The defense accused police of a sloppy investigation that too quickly focused on Armstrong as the sole suspect. And they tried to raise doubts among jurors by suggesting someone else could have killed Wilson, asking why prosecutors so quickly dismissed Strickland as a suspect.

But a police analyst testified that data tracking on Strickland’s phone showed him traveling away from Wilson’s apartment immediately after dropping her off, and taking a phone call at or near his home around the time Wilson was killed.

Armstrong’s lawyers tried to pick at that data as unreliable and imprecise. They questioned whether someone other than Armstrong had her vehicle and phone that night. They also called an expert on forensic metallurgy to try to debunk as faulty the firearms and tool-marking methods used to match the bullets to Armstrong’s gun.

THE SENTENCE

The sentencing phase of the trial packed an emotional wallop.

Caitlin Cash, the friend who found Wilson and pumped her chest 100 times in a desperate attempt to save her through CPR, said she had texted Wilson’s family earlier that day with a picture of her starting a training ride. It included a message, “Your girl is in safe hands here in Austin.”

“I felt a lot of guilt not being able to protect her,” Cash said. “I fought for her with everything I had.”

Cash also described Anna Wilson’s mother, Karen, later coming to the apartment and lying on the bathroom floor to put herself in her daughter’s final place, stroking the floor tiles and crying.

Karen Wilson spoke twice, once before the sentence was delivered, and again afterward.

“When you shot Moriah in the heart, you shot me in the heart … all the people who loved her, pierced their hearts,” Karen Wilson said, looking at Armstrong as she left the witness stand.

Armstrong did not appear to return her gaze.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee are in the process of voting this week on...

Chris Isidore, CNN

Volkswagen workers are voting on whether to join the UAW. The results could be felt nationwide

The union vote at the Volkswagen plant will mean more than whether the 4,300 hourly workers in Chattanooga are members of the UAW or not. It could be the start of a revolution in the US auto industry, which has not seen a new automaker unionize in nearly 50 years.

5 hours ago

IN SPACE - In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Earth as ...

Associated Press

Earth Day: How a senator’s idea more than 50 years ago got people fighting for their planet

Millions of people around the world will pause on Monday, at least for a moment, to mark Earth Day. It's an annual event founded by people who hoped to stir activism to clean up and preserve a planet that is now home to some 8 billion humans and assorted trillions of other organisms.

7 hours ago

Texts shown during Chad Daybell's jury trial show he and Lori Daybell planned to be together in Haw...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Texts show Chad and Lori Daybell’s relationship days after her husband’s death

Jurors for Chad Daybell's trial heard testimony on Friday about Lori Daybell's texts from an FBI agent, along with the end of testimony from Lori Daybell's friend, Melanie Gibb.

9 hours ago

FILE - A doctor uses a hand-held Doppler probe on a pregnant woman to measure the heartbeat of the ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

Emergency rooms refused to treat pregnant women, leaving one to miscarry in a lobby restroom

Complaints about pregnant women being turned away from emergency rooms spiked in the months after states began enacting strict abortion laws following the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

10 hours ago

Bluey and two other cartoon dogs point...

Cheyanne Mumphrey, Associated Press

Not a toddler, not a parent, but still love ‘Bluey’? You’re not alone

A small blue dog named Bluey with an Australian accent has captured the hearts of people across the world.

10 hours ago

Crime scene tape. (Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Police to review security outside courthouse hosting Trump’s trial after man sets himself on fire

Police officials say they are reviewing whether to restrict access to a public park outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial after a man set himself on fire there.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Woman convicted of killing pro cyclist Anna ‘Mo’ Wilson gets 90 years in prison. What happened?