Mikala Compton/Pool/Austin American-Statesman/AP
Kaitlin Armstrong, in court Thursday, was found guilty of murdering professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson.
Kaitlin Armstrong was sentenced by a jury on Friday to 90 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in Texas in May 2022.
Armstrong’s case gained national attention after he traveled to Costa Rica and disappeared for more than 40 days following the murder. Armstrong’s boyfriend, Colin Strickland, was another cyclist and the last person seen with Wilson before his death.
The jury also ordered Armstrong to pay a $10,000 fine.
Prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez asked jurors to “start their calculation with a minimum of 40 years in prison” as a sentence and “go from there.”
Armstrong – who turns 36 in less than a week – faces a possible life sentence, or up to 99 years in prison. His defense attorney, Rick Cofer, did not suggest a specific prison term during his comments to the jury.
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 breaking down. The state sought to portray Armstrong as a jealous girlfriend who had access to Strickland’s text communications and used a geolocation app to track Wilson.
The defense argued that the police neglected to check all the evidence and examine the other suspects.
In 2022, Armstrong pleaded not guilty to the charge of first degree murder in Wilson’s killing.
In closing arguments, prosecutor Rickey Jones urged jurors to reject defense theories about another killer. Armstrong was on the run because she is guilty of “shooting Mo Wilson in the heart and head and kidnapping this prodigy at the age of 25.”
“Nineteen days before this trial, she ran from you,” Jones said of the defendant. “She didn’t want to confront you… Don’t let her run like she tried to do 19 days before this trial.”
Gonzalez said in conclusion: “No one saw who murdered Moriah Wilson, but the evidence all points in one direction: the defendant. »
Cofer responded in conclusion that his client “was trapped in a nightmare of circumstantial evidence.”
“How do you go about refuting a negative result? ” He asked.
The defense pointed to an unknown DNA profile recovered from the crime scene to suggest Armstrong was not the killer. And Cofer concluded that the Austin Police Department told his client, “Free to go, ma’am.”
“Police believe Kaitlin committed this crime. They don’t know it. It fits their story,” Cofer told jurors. “It fits the story they created. A jilted and jealous lover. This story is so easy to tell because it fits into a framework of patriarchy and misogyny that is ingrained in American culture.
Courtesy of the Wilson family
Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson
Wilson, 25, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds at a friend’s home in Austin, authorities said, three days before she was scheduled 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 then told police he and Wilson had swum and had dinner, and he had dropped her off at a friend’s house, according to a court affidavit. arrest from Travis County District Court.
Police issued a homicide warrant on May 17, 2022, for Armstrong. The affidavit for his arrest referenced in part video surveillance obtained by investigators showing a vehicle similar to his near the home shortly before Wilson’s body was found.
Armstrong was captured in Costa Rica on June 29, 2022 and 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 U.S. Marshals Service said authorities believe Armstrong used a close associate’s passport to travel to Costa Rica and used multiple aliases while moving to a new city several times, CNN previously reported.
Armstrong was arrested for violating Costa Rican law for fraudulent use of a passport, according to Marshals spokesman Brandon Filla.
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