Killer yoga teacher Kaitlin Armstrong has been found guilty of shooting her love rival Moriah Wilson as the victim screamed in fear in her final moments.
The jury deliberated for less than two hours before returning their guilty verdict in an Austin courtroom Thursday afternoon. Armstrong, 35, now faces a maximum prison sentence of 99 years.
Jurors believed there was a wealth of evidence showing Armstrong stalked her own boyfriend, Colin Strickland and Wilson, while they were out to dinner on May 11, 2022.
After dinner, Strickland dropped Wilson off at a friend’s house, and minutes later Armstrong’s Jeep appeared outside the apartment.
Several neighbors’ security cameras captured the Jeep’s arrival, the gunshots and the SUV’s departure.
Kaitlin Armstrong looks at the jury as a guilty verdict is returned against her
Moriah Wilson (left), who went by ‘Mo’, was an up-and-coming cyclist and described as a child prodigy. She met Colin Strickland (who was a celebrated cyclist in his own right). Although Strickland was dating and living with Kaitlin Armstrong, Wilson and Strickland were in a sexual relationship in the fall of 2021 when Armstrong and Strickland broke up.
As the verdict was announced, Armstrong looked straight ahead.
“Mo Wilson’s friends and family silently cry tears of joy as they hear the news read aloud. Huge hugs from the Wilson family. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson hugging each other,” said News Nation reporter Alex Caprariello.
Jurors were shown a bombshell video showing what appeared to be Wilson’s final moments – where a woman (Wilson) could be heard, followed by gunshots.
“The last thing Mo Wilson did on this earth on May 11, 2022 at 9:15 p.m. was scream in fear,” prosecutor Rickey Jones said during closing arguments.
In her final hours, Wilson met Colin Strickland, Armstrong’s live-in boyfriend.
After Strickland dropped Wilson off at a friend’s apartment, a black Jeep owned by Armstrong was caught by multiple surveillance cameras in the area. Her car’s GPS and her phone’s GPS also led Armstrong to the scene of the crime.
Kaitlin Armstrong, 35, looked somber Thursday as she watched jurors leave the courtroom to begin deliberations in her murder trial
“I’ve never seen so much evidence against one person in my life,” Jones said.
Wilson was shot twice in the head, once in the heart and once in the finger, the medical examiner testified earlier this week, explaining that the gunshot wound to her finger was a defensive wound, meaning Wilson likely tried to kill herself to protect against shots. .
“Then she (Armstrong) runs off to Costa Rica, gets plastic surgery, teaches yoga on the beach, while the Wilsons are left behind trying to pick up the pieces,” Jones said, referring to the victim’s grieving family who have been in custody for days. courtroom sitting. for the past three weeks, taking over the first three rows of the gallery.
Armstrong fled Austin, Texas, to Costa Rica days after Wilson’s murder to avoid charges.
She left the country with a passport that belonged to her sister Christine.
The yoga teacher is pictured before the attack (left) and after fleeing the country (right). Police said she had plastic surgery, a nose job, and dyed her hair brown while on the run
Armstrong is seen here arriving at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as she was brought back from Costa Rica
U.S. Marshals eventually tracked her down to a remote beach town, where she was living under several aliases and had undergone a rhinoplasty and a brow lift.
The former yoga teacher tried to escape from police custody for a second time 19 days before her trial began.
“She’s running from you and you and you and you… because you’re a jury of her peers. Everyone deserves their day in court, and she got hers,” Jones said as he pointed to the jurors.
Armstrong listened quietly to the closing arguments, wearing a black pantsuit and a dark teal blouse.
No cameras are allowed in the courtroom for the trial that began on October 30, except for opening and closing statements.
Defense attorney Rick Cofer spoke second to jurors and labeled Strickland a “poster boy for Peter Pan syndrome” while describing him as a liar and womanizer.
Armstrong appeared more somber during closing arguments Thursday than in previous days. During other periods of the trial, she listened intently to testimony and evidence presented
Armstrong’s attorney Rick Cofer during closing arguments Thursday in Austin, Texas
Prosecutor Rickey Jones points to Kaitlin Armstrong during closing arguments as he tells jurors she was Wilson’s killer
“Mo Wilson wasn’t the first woman in Colin’s life,” Cofer joked.
“She had to be portrayed as a jealous psychopath to explain the motive.”
But jealousy, Coffey added, is not murder, calling Armstrong’s insecurity normal human emotions, namely not trusting a cheating boyfriend.
Armstrong’s attorney reminded the jury that the DNA taken from Wilson’s body to see if she had been raped the night of the murder had never been tested.
There was also no unknown DNA on Wilson’s bicycle.
“The truth is, APD did not want any piece of evidence for you that points against Kaitlin Armstrong. They don’t want any piece of evidence that is inconsistent with their case,” her attorney continued.
Colin Strickland storms out of the Travis County Courthouse after testifying against his ex, Kaitlin Armstrong
Cofer also addressed Armstrong’s two attempts to escape, portraying her as “terrified” and adding that she could have feared being killed afterwards.
While he said Armstrong did not kill Wilson, Cofer admitted he doesn’t know who the real killer is.
“Anyone could have entered that unlocked apartment,” the attorney said.
Jurors in the case heard nothing from Armstrong herself because she declined to testify in her own defense on Wednesday.
Armstrong’s sentence will be decided in a separate sentencing phase, which began shortly after the verdict was announced.
In this ‘mini-trial’, the state and defense will call witnesses.
The state immediately swore in Wilson’s friends and family.
The first witness called was Caitlin Cash, the girlfriend Wilson was staying with the night of the murder.
She told the judges how Wilson was staying with them and how excited they were to see her.
They texted Wilson’s mother when Wilson went for a bike ride with a photo that said, “Your girl is in safe hands here in Austin.”
Wilson’s mother let out an audible cry.
Cash also went into detail about finding Wilson after she was shot and giving her ten minutes of CPR while the ambulance arrived, calling it the longest ten minutes of her life.
Once both the state and defense have called all their witnesses, the jury will again deliberate on how much time Armstrong will spend in prison.
Tomorrow at 9 a.m. the jury will begin deliberating on the sentence.