AUSTIN, Texas (TCD) — A jury has found a 35-year-old woman guilty of killing her romantic rival and fleeing, which led to a nearly two-month-long manhunt.
The Travis County district attorney’s office announced Kaitlin Armstrong was convicted Thursday, Nov. 16, of first-degree murder for the 2022 shooting death of up-and-coming cycling star Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson.
The Associated Press reports the jury deliberated for about three hours before reaching the verdict. On Friday, Nov. 17, a judge sentenced Armstrong to 90 years in prison.
According to Austin Police, on May 11, 2022, at just before 10 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 1700 block of Maple Avenue after someone called to report her friend, later identified as Wilson, was bleeding and unconscious. Police found Wilson has sustained several gunshot wounds and she was declared deceased at the scene.
The Associated Press reports Wilson, 25, had been shot twice in the head and once in the heart.
According to Armstrong’s affidavit, Wilson told her friend she was meeting up with a friend and fellow cyclist, Colin Strickland, that day and they planned on going swimming. Wilson was reportedly in Austin for a race that many speculated she would win.
Police obtained surveillance footage and noticed a dark SUV with a bike rack on the back park near the friend’s home. The SUV was reportedly the only car in the area until first responders arrived. Investigators went to Strickland’s home and found a dark Jeep Cherokee with a bike rack parked in his driveway.
He told investigators Armstrong owned the Jeep and he never drove it.
Strickland spoke with detectives and said he lived with his girlfriend, Armstrong. The two had been together for three years, but broke up briefly in October 2021. While separated, Strickland met Wilson and the two had a short relationship until he rekindled his romance with Armstrong.
The affidavit says Armstrong found out in May 2022 that Wilson and Strickland were still together even though he was back with her.
The U.S. Marshals Service said police issued a warrant for Armstrong’s arrest May 17, 2022. On May 18, 2022, Armstrong used a fake passport and flew to Costa Rica. Prior to her leaving, she sold her Jeep Cherokee to CarMax.
Marshals apprehended her in Costa Rica in June 2022 and extradited her back to Texas.
According to The Associated Press, while in Costa Rica, Armstrong underwent plastic surgery and dyed her hair.
After the verdict, Wilson’s mother said in a victim impact statement, “When you shot Moriah in the heart, you shot me in the heart.”
She added, “She lived as if every day was her last day. And she lived it so fully. She never wasted any time,” saying it seemed like Wilson “knew her life would be short.”