AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas jury on Thursday convicted a woman of murder in the May 2022 shooting death of rising professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson in a case that led investigators on a 43-day international search for the killer.
Kaitlin Armstrong, 35, faces up to life in prison when she is sentenced later Thursday. Prosecutors said Armstrong gunned down the 25-year-old Wilson in a jealous rage. Wilson, who was also known as “Mo,” had briefly dated Armstrong’s boyfriend several months earlier. Wilson had gone swimming and to a meal with him the day she was killed.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours after two weeks of testimony. Wilson family and friends — including the friend who found her body the night she was killed — hugged and cried in the courtroom after the verdict was read.
Kaitlin Armstrong’s sister sat next to their mother crying. Armstrong’s father stood silently for several minutes after the verdict.
A Vermont native and former alpine skier at Dartmouth, Wilson was an emerging star in pro gravel and mountain bike racing. She was visiting Austin ahead of a race in Texas where she was among the favorites to win. Investigators said Armstrong tracked Wilson to the apartment where she was staying and shot her three times.
Armstrong briefly met with police before selling her vehicle and using her sister’s name and passport to fly to Costa Rica. Investigators said she spent more than $6,000 on a nose job there and changed her hairstyle and hair color to evade authorities before she was arrested as a beachside hostel.
Armstrong's defense attorneys had urged the jury to find reasonable doubt in what they called an inadequate and sloppy investigation. They accused investigators of “tunnel vision” in quickly identifying Armstrong as the suspect.
Armstrong's lawyers noted there were no witnesses to the shooting or video surveillance that captured it. They questioned why police did not strongly consider as suspects Colin Strickland, Armstrong's boyfriend who was with Wilson the day she died, or two other male acquaintances.
But investigators said they quickly eliminated Strickland and the others and that the evidence pointed solely to Armstrong. Investigators said Armstrong tracked Wilson’s location through a fitness app, and they found deleted digital maps to the garage apartment where she was killed.
Armstrong’s Jeep was seen near near the apartment around the time Wilson was shot and bullet casings found near Wilson's body matched a gun Armstrong owned. Two of Armstrong’s friends testified that she had previously said she wanted to, or could, kill Wilson.
After selling her Jeep for $12,000, Armstrong fled to Costa Rice where she tried to establish herself as a yoga instructor before federal authorities found her, investigators said.
Armstrong again tried to escape authorities during an Oct. 11 doctor’s appointment outside of jail. She faces a separate felony escape charge.
Jim Vertuno, The Associated Press