AUSTIN (KXAN) — The murder trial for Kaitlin Armstrong began Wednesday shortly after 9 a.m. CT. Armstrong is accused of shooting and killing up-and-coming professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in May 2022.
Cameras are allowed inside the courtroom for opening statements, closing arguments and the verdict, but not during witness testimony.
Even though cameras are not allowed inside during testimony, KXAN’s Brianna Hollis will be inside the courtroom and will update this story throughout the trial with the latest information. Follow her live on social media below.
State focuses on phone records in opening statements
Assistant District Attorney Rickey Jones began his opening statements by discussing Wilson’s athletic endeavors; mentioning her collegiate skiing career and her recent success as a professional gravel racer.
While making his case, he presented slides detailing a timeline – gathered through phone records – of Armstrong’s and Wilson’s actions in the months leading up to the murder, as well as the actions of Colin Strickland – Armstrong’s then off-and-on boyfriend.
Prosecutors said Armstrong and Strickland were business partners and she had access to his messages through their laptop and iPad. Jones said Strickland and Wilson had a brief romantic relationship. Wilson’s family previously sent KXAN the following statement about Wilson’s relationship status:
“While we will not elaborate about the ongoing investigation, we do feel it’s important to clarify that at the time of her death, those closest to her clearly understood, directly from Moriah, that she was not in a romantic relationship with anyone,” the family wrote in the statement.
Jones, in his statements, outlined the below timeline on the day Wilson died, which he said prosecutors and law enforcement gathered through phone records. Wilson was in town for a nearby gravel race and was staying with a friend in East Austin.
- Wilson and Strickland leave Deep Eddy Pool. State said Strickland lied to Armstrong about where he was.
- 8:35 p.m.: Strickland drops Wilson off at friend’s east Austin apartment
- 8:38 p.m.: Strickland texts Armstrong, goes home
- 9:13: Wilson uses her phone
- 9:15: Gunshots go off
Defense: No video shows Armstrong shooting Wilson
“I want to talk to you about what you didn’t hear about,” said defense attorney Geoffrey Puryear. “Not one witness saw Kaitlin Armstrong allegedly commit this murder. Because there isn’t one.”
The defense used their opening statement to try and counter surveillance footage. They stated while video captured the sound of gunshots and Armstrong’s Jeep, the shooting itself, nor the person who pulled the trigger, was not captured on camera.
“You won’t hear about any camera footage of Armstrong being there,” said Puryear.
Puryear also reminded the jury the burden of proof is on the State to prove Armstrong is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The defense concluded its opening statements within 15 minutes. The State spoke for about one hour.
History of the case
On May 11, 2022, Austin police found Wilson with a gunshot wound at an east Austin home. She ultimately died at the scene. Wilson, originally from Vermont, was in town for a race in Texas.
Police said Armstrong’s Jeep was in the area of the home where authorities found Wilson dead around the time of the shooting. On May 14, surveillance video captured Armstrong at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. On May 17, APD issued a murder warrant for Amstrong.
She eventually made her way to Costa Rica, where U.S. Marshals found and arrested her on June 30, 2022. Police said she cut and dyed her hair and had a bandage on her nose and bruised eyes.
On Oct. 11, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said Armstrong tried to escape custody after a doctor’s appointment in south Austin. She ran from corrections officers who caught up to her in about 10 minutes.
There is currently a gag order on the case, so no one involved can speak about it until the trial is over.