Kaitlyn Armstrong was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder after Ms. The death of Moriah Wilson, a professional cyclist who briefly dated Armstrong’s boyfriend and was killed 18 months earlier in Austin, Texas, while visiting a bike race.
State District Judge Brenda Kennedy said after the jury deliberated for about two hours, Ms. found guilty against Armstrong. After the verdict was announced, more witnesses were called to testify as the court tried to decide what the sentence would be before retiring in the late afternoon.
It is unclear when Ms Armstrong will be sentenced. Her lawyer declined to comment on the case, which has drawn international attention as the investigation and Ms. Armstrong’s whereabouts slowly emerge.
Ricky Jones, a prosecutor, said in his opening statement that Ms Armstrong was “not happy” that her boyfriend at the time, Colin Strickland, had been involved with Ms Wilson. Mr. Strickland and MS. Mr. Armstrong said the two had an “on-again, off-again” relationship and lived together. Jones said, however, that he had briefly dated Ms Wilson while on holiday in October 2021.
Ms. Wilson was found unconscious and bleeding from gunshot wounds at a friend’s apartment on May 11, 2022, and was pronounced dead at the scene. A few hours before her death, Mr. She had gone swimming with Strickland.
Mr. Armstrong said he saw Ms. Armstrong’s Jeep near the apartment less than an hour before the gunshots were heard. Jones said. Ms Armstrong also had the handgun used in the shooting, Mr Jones said.
The Austin Police Department named Ms. Armstrong, now 35, as a suspect and issued an arrest warrant for Wilson, 25, six days after she was killed. By then, Ms. Armstrong had left Texas for New York and would soon fly to Costa Rica, where she evaded authorities for 43 days and tried to establish herself as a yoga teacher, the U.S. Marshals Service said. A few weeks before the trial began, Ms. Armstrong tried to escape police custody, leading corrections officers on a brief chase.
Ms. Wilson, who lived in San Francisco and grew up in Vermont, was a rising star in the cycling world before her death, particularly in gravel cycling, mountain biking and road cycling. In April 2022, the Belgian won the Waffle Ride California, a 137-mile off-road race by 25 minutes, and had recently decided to quit his job as a demand planner at Specialized Bicycles to focus on cycling full-time.
Mrs. Wilson, known as Moe, was expecting Months of intense racing In May 2022, he told competitive cycling magazine VeloNews earlier that month that he was headed to Austin for the 150-mile Gravel Logos in nearby Higo, Texas.
Jones said that on the day Ms. Wilson was killed, she went on a three-mile bike ride and then met Mr. Wilson, a professional cyclist. Strickland, 36, visited Deep Eddy Pool.
Mr. Strickland said their relationship was “platonic” when he moved to Austin in May 2022, after Ms Wilson’s death. That month, Ms. Wilson’s family also said in a statement That she was “not in a romantic relationship with anyone” at the time of her death.
Mr. Strickland testified at the trial that Ms Armstrong had access to his financial records, email and Instagram account because she managed a business for him. The Austin American-Statesman reported.
During the investigation, M.S. Armstrong’s attorneys said police were too quick to identify Ms. They said Armstrong was named as a suspect and that someone else may have killed Ms. Wilson. Ms. Armstrong did not testify.
Rick Coffer, Ms Armstrong’s lawyer, said the case against her was “based on assumptions, confirmation bias and a lack of direct evidence”.
Mr. Armstrong said it was an easy story for prosecutors to say that Ms. Armstrong killed Ms. Wilson out of jealousy. Gopher said. “Jealousy is a basic human emotion,” he said.
The day after Ms. Wilson’s murder, police found her in possession of a Jeep similar to the one seen outside the apartment. Armstrong was asked. She was released.
Ms. Armstrong sold her black Jeep Grand Cherokee for $12,200 and flew to New York on May 14, 2022. Three days later, the Austin Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest. On May 18, he used a fraudulent passport to fly from Newark, NJ to San Jose, Costa Rica, according to the US Marshals Service.
Before her arrest in Costa Rica in June 2022, Ms Armstrong spent 43 days on the run, changing her appearance and trying to start a career teaching yoga. The U.S. Marshals Service said he was found at a resort on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas on Costa Rica’s west coast.
Ms Armstrong had used several aliases in Costa Rica and had cut her hair and dyed it brown, Deputy US Marshal Brandon Filla told a press conference in July 2022. When he was arrested, he had a bandage on his nose. and discoloration under his eyes, which he said was caused by a surfboard accident, Mr. Phila said. At trial, the prosecution said Ms Armstrong had undergone plastic surgery in Costa Rica.
Mrs. Armstrong was deported to America and arrived in Austin July 5, 2022. She pleaded not guilty later that month.
Ms Armstrong attempted to escape from police custody on October 11 as the trial approached.
Kristen Dark, spokeswoman for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, said Ms. Armstrong ran from two correctional officers as she left a medical appointment and made it about a block and a half before she was recaptured.