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Kaitlin Armstrong Pleads Not Guilty To Anna 'Mo' Wilson Murder, 'Wants Her Day In Court'
The attorney representing Kaitlin Armstrong, who faces murder charges in the death of pro-cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, says "there is a lot more to this story that has yet been heard."
The yoga instructor accused of killing a woman in a fit of jealous rage has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder.
Kaitlin Armstrong, 34, was arraigned in a Travis County, Texas courthouse on charges related to the May 11 murder of pro-cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, according to the Associated Press on Wednesday. Armstrong, who was captured in Costa Rica following a 43-day manhunt, entered a plea of not guilty.
“Ms. Armstrong wants her day in court,” Armstrong's attorney, Rick Cofer, said at the hearing.
Armstrong stands accused of driving to an Austin, Texas residence and gunning down Wilson, a Vermont-raised gravel cyclist in town to compete in a race.
According to charging documents, Armstrong allegedly perceived Wilson as a threat after learning the victim and Armstrong’s boyfriend, Colin Strickland, had briefly become romantically involved months earlier while Strickland and Armstrong were separated.
On the night of Wilson’s murder, she and Strickland — also a pro-cyclist — had met at a local pool, though Strickland maintained it was strictly professional and platonic.
Strickland cooperated with authorities and is not a suspect in Wilson's murder.
Police questioned Kaitlin Armstrong after her vehicle was captured on a surveillance camera at the Austin residence around the time Wilson was shot to death. Armstrong reportedly put an end to the interview and left, after which experts determined that the likelihood was “significant” that Armstrong’s 9 mm handgun was the murder weapon, according to an affidavit reviewed by Oxygen.com.
But Armstrong had fled the state before authorities could obtain a warrant for her arrest, prompting a large-scale manhunt that ended when Costa Rican officials found Armstrong at a seaside hostel in Costa Rica, having dramatically changed her appearance.
At Wednesday’s plea hearing, Cofer said his team would be challenging how the Austin Police Department handled the investigation into Wilson’s murder, according to CBS Austin.
“Why did the Austin Police Department seemingly ignore a tip about the former boyfriend of Ms. Wilson? Why did the Austin Police Department present inaccurate and misleading information to a judge in seeking an arrest warrant for Ms. Armstrong?” asked Cofer. “Did the inexperience of two key officers assigned to the case play a role in its apparent mishandling?”
Cofer also claimed someone vandalized Armstrong and Strickland’s home on the night of the murder.
“Simply put, there is a lot more to this story that has yet been heard,” Cofer stated.
Part of Wednesday’s hearing also involved prosecutors and Armstrong’s defense lawyers arguing over the expediency of a trial, with Cofer requesting it come sooner than later, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors, however, said a quick trial setting would show “privilege” in that it would put Armstrong’s trial ahead of other defendants, some of whom have already experienced significant delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prosecutors also claimed they needed more time to build their case against Armstrong.
“If they chose to indict without evidence, that’s the district attorney’s problem, Cofer stated.
Ultimately, District Judge Brenda Kennedy scheduled Armstrong’s trial for Oct. 24.
Armstrong is being held at the Travis County jail on $3.5 million bond for first-degree murder and unrelated theft charges pertaining to a 2018 incident when Armstrong allegedly failed to pay for a Botox procedure. She is also being held on a federal detainer related to her charges for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, jail records show, in which she’ll be prosecuted in a separate court.