Kaitlin Armstrong Trial Pushed Back Again—This Time to October
Gravel cycling star Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson was tragically killed in mid May. Her alleged killer, Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, eluded authorities until July when she was captured and arrested. She pled not guilty but is currently being held until the trial, which will now start in October, 2023. Here’s what we know so far, in chronological order of events. As new information emerges, we’ll update this timeline.
May 8, 2023: The trial will be pushed back after all. The Austin American-Statesman reports that Armstrong’s trial start date has been moved from June 26, 2023 to October 30, 2023. Defense attorney Rick Cofer requested and was granted a delay to allow for more time to secure witnesses and other evidence for Armstrong’s defense
April 20, 2023: Armstrong’s trial will proceed towards the June 26 trial date, after she appeared in court on Thursday, per the Austin American-Statesman. Her attorney, Brandy Mueller, reaffirmed that Armstrong continues to claim innocence and has requested a speedy trial. Meanwhile, the defense noted that they may request more time to gather evidence and witnesses. The American-Statesman reports that the defense has until May 1, 2023 to make that request. Thursday also marked Armstrong’s first appearance in court with cameras.
November 9, 2022: Today, Judge Brenda Kennedy rejected Armstrong's defense attorney's motions to suppress certain evidence and interviews, and has set a date for the trial to commence in late June of 2023, more than a year after Mo Wilson's murder. Jurors will be called June 22, with the trial set to commence on the 26th. KXAN in Austin, Texas, reported that Kennedy stated: "There was no evidence of any intentional disregard for the truth." She added that there was 'probable cause' for Armstrong's arrest.
According to Fox News, Armstrong's attorney had initially sought a 'speedy trial,' before asking for certain interviews with police be thrown out. While this seems like a win for the prosecution, Robert Riggs, a Texas-based journalist, told Fox News: "I think this ruling sets up the defense for an appeal post trial if it doesn’t go their way."
Armstrong remains in custody, with bail set at 3.5 million dollars.
November 8, 2022: Tomorrow, an announcement will be made regarding if the judge will throw out certain interviews and evidence. The trial was originally set for late October.
October 26, 2022: According to Fox News in Austin, attorneys for both sides now have until November 9 to file memorandums based on the pre-trial hearings.
October 19, 2022: According to Fox News in Austin, Armstrong's attorneys have filed multiple motions to suppress evidence at a pre-trial hearing, including information from her original questioning by police back in May. The trial is set to begin next week.
September 16, 2022: NBC's Dateline airs a new episode that followed the case. Armstrong's attorney was interviewed, claimed that the case against Armstrong was weak.
August 24, 2022: According to Dallas Fort Worth's NBC station, the trial date for Armstrong—originally set for mid-October—is likely to be delayed as the prosecution and defense met with the judge to discuss the flurry of motions filed by the defense, including one that would prevent commentary from the prosecution to the public ahead of the trial. According to NBC, both the prosecutors and Armstrong’s attorney Rick Cofer have agreed to the gag order that would prevent “prejudicial” comments to the media. The judge is likely to approve said order.
August 18, 2022: Armstrong's attorneys filed a 178-page motion addressing specific points in the lengthy affidavits, alleging that the affidavit was full of “lies, mischaracterizations, and reckless disregard for the truth” according to the Austin Chronicle. Her counsel further alleges that the evidence of Armstrong’s guilt is flawed—you can read some excerpts from police interviews in the Chronicle article, and see where the lawyers are disputing certain claims. However, they don't deny that Armstrong did, in fact, flee the country using a false identity. A court date was set for August 24 for District Judge Brenda Kennedy to determine the validity of these motions.
July 20, 2022: In her first court appearance, Armstrong pleaded not guilty, according to CBS Austin. Armstrong also exercised her right to a speedy trial, and her lawyers said she’s ready to go to trial now. But prosecutors argued that they haven’t received all the evidence from the case yet. The trial and jury selection will begin on October 24. Fox News reported that after the hearing, Armstrong’s lawyer, Rick Cofer, intimated that “there are other sides to the story.”
July 4, 2022: Armstrong is returned to the U.S. in custody of U.S. Marshals. ABC13 shared a video of Armstrong—with dyed brown hair—being escorted out of George Bush International Airport in Houston by police. According to court records obtained by Fox News, her bail has been set at 3.5 million dollars.
July 1, 2022: Armstrong is in the process of being deported to the U.S, according to CNN. Costa Rica’s General Migration Directorate spokesperson told CNN that she was transferred to the Centro de Aprehensión Regional Central, a prison in Los Lagos, on June 30 after being apprehended in Santa Teresa on Wednesday. She is awaiting deportation, but the process can take up to 30 days.
July 1, 2022: More details emerge around Armstrong’s capture. U.S. Marshals share in a press release that she had cut her hair to shoulder length and dyed it brown, and had a bandage on her nose and two black eyes from a surfing accident. U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas Susan Pamerleau says, “This is an example of combining the resources of local, state, federal and international authorities to apprehend a violent fugitive, bring an end to that run and hopefully a sense of closure to the victim’s family.”
June 30, 2022: U.S. Marshals announce that Armstrong has been arrested in Costa Rica. According to The Austin American-Statesman, U.S. Marshals will be bringing Armstrong back to the U.S. in coming days, where she has been charged with the first degree murder of Wilson and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. This brings the six-week manhunt to an end, though questions remain about how Armstrong was able to get to Costa Rica. U.S. Marshals confirmed to VeloNews that Armstrong was apprehended on June 29 at a hostel in Santa Teresa, a small coastal town in Costa Rica popular with yogis and surfers. Sources told VeloNews that Armstrong had used a false passport to fly to Costa Rica on May 18, the day she was spotted at the airport in Newark, New Jersey, and that she reportedly underwent plastic surgery.
June 30, 2022: Costa Rica's General Migration Directorate spokesperson told CNN that Armstrong used an identification that was not her own, but was a legitimate passport.
Editor’s Note: We’ve also included updates from the U.S. Marshals that may seem out of place on the timeline, but are indicative of how the investigation has progressed. For example, while we know Armstrong flew out of Austin on May 14, the U.S. Marshals released a statement on May 23 that they believed she was still in Austin, hiding out.
June 23, 2022: U.S. Marshals announce that Armstrong’s vehicle, a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, has been found, as reported by KXAN. Armstrong sold the vehicle to CarMax in south Austin for $12,200 on May 13, two days after Wilson was killed. The official reward for information leading to her arrest has been increased to $6,000, and an anonymous donor is now offering an additional $15,000.
June 15, 2022: Fox News reports that Armstrong was allegedly spotted at the Camp Haven campground in Livingston Manor, New York, a month ago, according to a camper who contacted Fox News anonymously. Armstrong’s sister Christine works there and had been staying there long-term, and the anonymous camper indicated that Christine had since been interviewed by the U.S. Marshals. (U.S. Marshals would not confirm that they spoke with Christine but did confirm the location was part of the manhunt.) KXAN in Austin reports that private investigator Jason Jensen believes Armstrong may be using her sister’s name, Christine, as an alias in New York state, or that she may have fled to Canada.
June 6, 2022: U.S. Marshals report that Armstrong was dropped off at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18, a few days after she flew to LaGuardia Airport. The investigation is upgraded to major case status, and up to a $5,000 reward is offered for information leading to her arrest.
May 29, 2022: Austin area cyclists hold a ride vigil in Wilson’s memory.
May 25, 2022: U.S. Marshals report that Armstrong flew to LaGuardia Airport on May 14.
May 24, 2022: Armstrong’s father appears on Good Morning America and says he believes Armstrong is innocent, as reported by Newsweek.
May 24, 2022: VeloNews reports that many of Strickland’s sponsors, including Specialized and Rapha, have cut ties with him.
May 23, 2022: U.S. Marshals tell reporters they believe Armstrong is still in Texas, according to KXAN.
May 21, 2022: Wilson’s family releases a statement to KXAN saying that at the time of her death, Wilson was not in a romantic relationship with anyone.
May 20, 2022: Strickland releases a statement through his lawyer to the Austin American-Statesman, offering his sympathy to Wilson’s family and explaining that they had a brief romantic relationship but remained friends.
May 19, 2022: The warrant for Armstrong’s arrest is issued for the first-degree murder of Moriah Wilson.
May 18, 2022: Armstrong is spotted being dropped off at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. This is later reported by the U.S. Marshals on June 6.
May 14, 2022: Armstrong is seen at the Austin International Bergstrom Airport, where she boarded a flight that took her to Houston, and then to LaGuardia International Airport. This is later announced by the U.S. Marshals on March 25.
May 14, 2022: A tipster tells the Austin Police Department that in January, Armstrong found out about Strickland’s relationship with Wilson and told them she wanted to kill Wilson.
May 12, 2022: Police question Strickland and Armstrong separately. Strickland admits to lying to Armstrong about his whereabouts. Armstrong is brought in for questioning, thanks to an outstanding arrest warrant from 2018 due to non-payment for a Botox injection, but she’s allowed to leave due to a clerical error on that warrant. Police recover a 9mm handgun registered to Armstrong but purchased by Strickland. According to police documents, it is later determined there is significant likelihood that it is the gun that shot Wilson.
May 11, 2022, 10 p.m.: Wilson is found in the evening with multiple gunshot wounds, unconscious in a friend’s apartment. Wilson is pronounced dead on the scene. Armstrong’s SUV is caught on a neighbor’s camera.
May 11, 2022 around 8:30 p.m.: Wilson is dropped back at the house by Strickland.
May 11, 2022, after 5:30 p.m.: Wilson leaves the house to go swimming with fellow gravel pro Colin Strickland. Strickland and Wilson allegedly had a brief romantic relationship in 2021, while Strickland and his live-in girlfriend, Armstrong, were on a break.
May 10, 2022: Wilson arrives in Austin, Texas, to take part in Gravel Locos. She’s staying with a friend in the city.
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