Texas Trial of Accused Cyclist Killer Begins

Kaitlin Armstrong is shown in the courtroom at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in downtown Austin, Nov. 1, 2023. | Image by Pool via ABC News

The trial of a Texas woman charged with murdering a pro cyclist and romantic rival in Austin last year kicked off on Wednesday.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers presented their opening arguments in court on November 1 in a case that has been highly publicized but heavily delayed, in part because the accused murderer Kaitlin Armstrong has reportedly made several attempts to evade justice.

After her initial interview with police in connection to the fatal shooting of Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, 25, on May 11, 2022, the 35-year-old Armstrong allegedly fled the country and led law enforcement on a 43-day chase. She was eventually found by the U.S. Marshals in Costa Rica and extradited to Austin, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.

A few weeks ago, Armstrong again allegedly tried to escape police custody while being escorted from a medical appointment by two corrections officers in Austin, as covered in The Dallas Express. She can be seen scaling a wall in a video taken by a passerby. Police said she was captured after only a few blocks.

Armstrong has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wilson, a Vermont native who had previously dated Armstrong’s boyfriend, Colin Strickland. Wilson was in Austin to compete in a race and had spent time with Strickland during her stay. She had gone swimming with him on the same day she was found shot to death in a friend’s home.

During opening statements, Rickey Jones, the Travis County prosecutor, painted a vivid picture of the crime and told jurors there was an audio recording of Wilson’s death. On it, Jones said, the victim’s screams could be heard, followed by the distinct sound of two gunshots and then heavy silence.

“Kaitlin Armstrong stood over Mo Wilson and put a third shot right into Mo Wilson’s heart,” said Jones, according to NBC 5 DFW.

Alongside video footage showing Armstrong’s 2012 Jeep Cherokee parked outside the murder scene and ballistic matches between her gun and shell casings retrieved by police, the prosecution will rely on evidence that allegedly proves the defendant had tracked Wilson and Strickland’s communications as well as Wilson’s whereabouts prior to the shooting.

In his own brief opening statement, defense attorney Geoffrey Puryear stressed that the evidence against Armstrong was merely circumstantial and that the prosecution had not provided any reliable proof of her guilt.

The trial is expected to run over the next two weeks, with Armstrong facing several decades in prison for first-degree murder as well as potentially an extra felony charge related to her alleged attempt to escape.

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