Kaitlin Armstrong's former boyfriend testified about their on-again, off-again "tumultuous" relationship on Friday, as the Texas yoga teacher stands trial in the fatal shooting of romantic rival Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson.
Wilson, 25, a professional cyclist, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds at a friend's home in Austin, Texas, on May 11, 2022, in what police said at the time appeared to be a targeted homicide.
Armstrong, 35, faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with Wilson's death, with prosecutors saying they have video, cellphone, ballistic and DNA evidence that proves she pulled the trigger.
Armstrong has pleaded not guilty. Her attorney told jurors during opening statements this week that the state and investigators were "so desperate to keep Kaitlin Armstrong in their crosshairs that they had tunnel vision and jumped to conclusions."
Wilson was at one time romantically linked to Armstrong's then-boyfriend -- Colin Strickland, a fellow professional cyclist -- and was found shot hours after meeting up with him in Austin, police said.
Strickland gave testimony about his relationship with the defendant, which he described as on-again-off-again and at times "tumultuous."
Strickland testified that he, at one time, loved Armstrong, and believes she loved him as well. However, Strickland recalled feeling apprehensive about forming a long-term relationship with her, which created tension. The two lived together throughout breaks in their relationship, during which Armstrong would at times confront him about his electronic communications with other women, he said.
Strickland testified that he met Wilson while in Bentonville, Arkansas, for a cycling race in October of 2021, and that he and Armstrong broke up shortly after that race.
Days later, Strickland said he learned that Wilson was in Austin for a race and they started dating. During this period, Strickland testified that he recalled learning that Armstrong had contacted Wilson confronting her about the relationship, which he found "strange and unnerving." Strickland testified that he does not recall telling Armstrong anything about the relationship with Wilson.
Wilson would go on to leave Austin for another racing engagement, departing on good but casual terms with Strickland, he said.
Strickland said he and Armstrong rekindled their romantic relationship by December 2021 and characterized his relationship with Wilson as "professional" and friendly, but not romantic -- texting about gear, upcoming races, logistical information and sponsorship opportunities. Though to "simply avoid conflict" with Armstong, Strickland said he changed Wilson's name in his phone to an alias -- "Christine Wall" -- and deleted their text threads to not "agitate the defendant."
On May 11, 2022, Strickland texted with Wilson, who was in Austin for a race, and the two met up to go swimming and get burgers and beers, before he dropped her off at her friend's house that evening, he said. Strickland testified that he did not tell Armstrong about this plan because of ''past experience with the defendant," though said Armstrong "definitely" had access to the Apple account connected to the phone he was using to text Wilson.
The following morning, Austin police showed up at his home to notify Strickland of Wilson's death and to bring him to police headquarters for questioning, he said. Upon telling Armstrong about Wilson's death and the homicide investigation. Strickland testified that her demeanor seemed to be "in shock."
During the interview with investigators, Strickland said he learned that a vehicle matching the description of Armstrong's Jeep was spotted near Wilson's stairway the night she was killed. Armstrong was also questioned by police that day, he said.
The next day, he said he planned to get a new phone, as his was in police custody, and meet with an attorney. He said he then drove to his property in Lockhart, south of Austin, where Armstrong had left him a note saying she attempted to drive Strickland's mother's car but stopped due to the smell of gas, he testified. After that day, he said he "never saw the defendant again."
A day after being interviewed by police about Wilson's murder, prosecutors say Armstrong sold her Jeep and later fled to Costa Rica. She was arrested in June 2022 following a 43-day search at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas.