Yoga teacher Kaitlin Armstrong’s murder trial: What you should know

Photo: Austin Police Department

After a long international refugee hunt and a foiled jailbreak attempt, Texas yoga teacher Kaitlin Armstrong is on trial for the murder of 25-year-old cycling star Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson. On May 11, 2022, Wilson, who was traveling from San Francisco to Texas to compete in a cycling competition, was shot and killed at a friend’s apartment in Austin. A few days after her death, authorities issued an arrest warrant for 36-year-old Armstrong, which they said was motivated by romantic jealousy: the evening before Wilson’s murder, the cyclist had met with Armstrong’s friend, fellow professional cyclist Colin Strickland. Per ESPN, he and Wilson had been briefly involved while Strickland and Armstrong were on a break, and became friends after he reconciled with the yoga instructor. According to one statutory declaration, Strickland bought two 9mm. He gave police handguns for himself and Armstrong just months before the shooting, telling police that he gave his girlfriend the gun – which authorities believe was the same one used in the murder – for her protection and gave it in self-defense.

The case shocked the cycling world and attracted a wave of media attention, including: New Yorker Story and a controversial feature in Outside Magazine written by a friend of Strickland’s. Wilson, a Dartmouth graduate Growing up in Vermont before moving to California, he was widely considered a rising star in the niche sport of gravel racing, according to cycling magazine VeloNews He called her “the most successful woman in the American off-road scene.” Fellow cyclist Amy Charity said The New Yorker that Wilson’s murder was “the most tragic and shocking thing to ever happen in the cycling community.” “There is no way to adequately express the regret and anguish I feel over my proximity to this terrible crime,” Strickland said in a statement after the shooting Austin American statesman. “I’m sorry and I just can’t understand this incredible tragedy.”

Prosecutors allege that Armstrong used the fitness app Strava, which Wilson used to log her bike rides, to determine the cyclist’s location. According to ESPN, In the days after the murder, Armstrong sold her Jeep – which had been spotted outside Wilson’s home on the night of May 11 – for cash before fleeing to Houston. While she was on the run, prosecutors allege that the yogi flew to New York and then used her sister’s passport to fly to Santa Teresa, a remote, yoga retreat-friendly area in Costa Rica, where she used a false identity adopted and changed appearance with hair dye and plastic surgery. Costa Rican authorities eventually located her at a dorm and arrested her. She was later extradited to the United States, charged with first-degree murder and held at the Travis County Correctional Complex in Texas on $3.5 million bail. Armstrong, the pleaded not guiltyCompounding her problems, she tried but failed to escape from detention during a doctor’s visit earlier this month.

“The last thing Mo did on this earth was scream in terror,” the prosecution told jurors Opening speeches. “You’re going to hear those screams.”

Below you will find everything you need to know about the case.

Accordingly ESPNThe seeds of the unfortunate love triangle were planted in September 2021 when Wilson and Strickland met at a four-day race in Idaho. This is what the outlet reports Strickland and Armstrong were no longer a couple at this point, but were still living together in Idaho. In October, Wilson, also recently single, traveled to Austin and began a romantic relationship with Strickland that, according to one report, “lasted about a week.” Statement Strickland released after her death. After Wilson returned to San Francisco, Strickland said that he and Armstrong got back together and his relationship with the cyclist became a “platonic and professional.”

“Moriah and I were both leaders in this solitary niche sport of cycling, and I deeply admired her and considered her a close friend,” Strickland said in his statement. Police reports received from ESPN Details of the evening he and Wilson spent together just hours before her murder: Strickland reportedly picked Wilson up from her friend Caitlin Cash’s apartment at 5:45 p.m. and took her to Deep Eddy, a popular swimming pool in Austin. The two later ate burgers in the pool before Strickland dropped Wilson back off at Cash’s around 8:30 p.m. Cash returned home around 10 p.m. and called 911 after finding Wilson bleeding and unconscious on her bathroom floor. The cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident from gunshot wounds.

Per KXAN Austin, Police took Armstrong in for questioning after discovering security footage that showed her Jeep in the neighborhood on the night of the murder. The yoga teacher was taken into custody on an old arrest warrant but was later released due to a clerical error. After her release, Armstrong allegedly sold her Jeep for cash at a local CarMax and flew to Houston and then New York. Meanwhile, police received suspicious tips about the Yogi, including one from an anonymous caller who said Armstrong once expressed a desire to kill Wilson after learning of the cyclist’s relationship with Strickland. Another tip came from Wilson’s friend, who informed authorities that Armstrong had contacted the cyclist repeatedly over a period of months and told her to stay away from Strickland. According to a police affidavit, ballistics tests on Armstrong’s gun indicated that the firearm was involved in Wilson’s murder.

By the time authorities issued a formal arrest warrant for Armstrong, the yogi had already fled the state. On May 18, 2022, cameras caught her at Newark Airport. U.S. Marshals discovered that she had flown to Costa Rica using her sister’s passport. “That passport was a passport that was issued to someone else … that she used because she looked very similar to that person,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla said in a news conference at the time VeloNews. “So that was a fraudulent use, but it wasn’t fraud per se.”

Armstrong reportedly lived in a hostel in Santa Teresa, a remote beach community. under a false identity and attempted to teach yoga under a pseudonym. “We knew she would be associated with some kind of yoga studio,” Filla said at a news conference Ride a bike The magazine added that foreign officials discovered a handwritten login at a yoga studio in Santa Teresa under the same alias Armstrong used to enter the country. She was reportedly arrested by local police and transferred to the regional central prison Centro de Aprehensión in Los Lagos. Booking photos suggest that Armstrong appears to have changed her appearance by cutting her strawberry blonde hair short and dying it a darker color. Receipts from a plastic surgeon’s office found among her belongings suggested she had also had a nose job, they said ESPN.

From the Los Lagos prison, Armstrong was extradited back to the United States, where she faced a first-degree murder charge as well as a federal charge of illegally fleeing to avoid prosecution and charges related to improper use of a passport. Ahead of her trial, additional charges of escape causing bodily harm following an attempted prison break were brought against her. supposedly running by the correctional officers who accompanied her to an external medical appointment. Video footage shows her running with her hands tied and trying to jump over a fence. A spokesman for the local sheriff’s office said officers caught up with Armstrong and detained her after about 10 minutes. A Arrest warrant obtained from ESPN suggests that Armstrong had been planning their escape for months.

As a witness, Cash told the court that Wilson was covered in blood when she returned home on the night of May 11, 2022. According to CBS News, jurors listened to a 911 recording of Cash trying to revive her.

Strickland also appeared in court and testified: “turbulent“Nature of his relationship with Armstrong, whom he met on a dating app in 2019 and from whom he broke up frequently: “I was very unsure about whether I wanted to be in a long-term relationship with her,” Strickland told the court Austin American statesman. He told jurors the yogi closely monitored his communications with other women and allegedly texted him an intimate photo that a woman had sent him privately; Strickland said he didn’t know how Armstrong received it. He told the jury that he believed she had access to a wide range of his personal data, including his email, Instagram, finances and passwords. When asked why he bought Armstrong a gun in 2021, Strickland told the court the yogi was paranoid about road accidents and the increasing number of homeless people and was afraid of riding a bike alone.

Strickland also recounted Armstrong’s intense jealousy over his brief romance with Wilson, whom he described as a “huge talent.” Per CBS AustinStrickland claimed that Armstrong sent him a text message that said, “Send my regards to Mo” after he posted an Instagram video in which he and Wilson posed in a group of cyclists. He told jurors Armstrong’s behavior was erratic: “I know you better than showing up at the Meteor with that girl,” Armstrong wrote to him in prosecutors’ text messages, referring to an outing Strickland had taken with Wilson to the Meteor Cafe in Austin. Another text message from Strickland to Armstrong suggested she had tried to contact Wilson directly: “Have you called Mo?” Strickland wrote. “What the hell?”

Even after his reconciliation with Armstrong, Strickland told jurors that he kept Wilson’s name under a pseudonym to avoid conflict. He testified that he last saw Armstrong on May 13, 2022, two days after Wilson’s murder. Pressed by the defense if he knew Armstrong well, he answered: “No, I will not do that. That’s what I thought, yeah.”

Armstrong is not expected to testify. If convicted, she could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

This post has been updated.

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