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Judge Sets Trial Date For Texas Yoga Instructor Accused Of Killing Romantic Rival
Defense attorneys had argued Kaitlin Armstrong, accused of fatally shooting Anna Moriah 'Mo' Wilson, was denied her constitutional rights when legal counsel wasn't provided during an interview that led to charges. The judge disagreed.
A trial date has been set for a Texas woman accused of fatally shooting a professional cyclist in what investigators say was a jealous fit of rage.
The murder trial for Kaitlin Armstrong, 34, is slated to begin on June 22, 2023 —despite her attorney’s attempts for a speedier trial, according to court records cited by Fox News. On Wednesday, Travis County Judge Brenda Kennedy also rejected motions by the defense to have parts of Armstrong's initial interview with Austin Police thrown out.
Armstrong stands accused of murdering 25-year-old Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson while the victim was in Austin for a gravel cycling competition. Wilson died on the night of May 11 after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds in the bathroom of a Maple Avenue home where she was staying.
Surveillance video captured Armstrong’s Jeep Cherokee near the residence on the night of the shooting, according to ABC Austin affiliate KVUE. After Wilson's remains were discovered, police learned that Wilson had a brief fling with Armstrong’s boyfriend, fellow cyclist Colin Strickland, 35, in October 2021, while Armstrong and Strickland were separated.
Wilson and Strickland reportedly met up hours before the murder, according to an affidavit cited by KVUE, though according to Strickland — who said in a statement that he's cooperating with authorities — it was on a platonic basis. He admitted to lying to Armstrong about his rendezvous with Wilson, which included a meeting at a local pool and going out for burgers.
Armstrong was questioned by Austin police on May 13, though her lawyer, Rick Cofer, claimed the interrogation was unconstitutional because she hadn’t been read her Miranda rights, according to Fox News.
She had been brought in for a separate misdemeanor charge stemming from when Armstrong allegedly failed to pay for Botox services in 2018 — charges which are still pending, according to jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com. But at the outset of the interview, detectives informed Armstrong that she was no longer under arrest due to what was believed to be a misprint of her birthdate on the misdemeanor warrant.
It was later learned the birthdate was correct, according to ABC Austin affiliate KVUE.
Police then questioned Armstrong about Wilson’s murder, despite both the supposedly invalid misdemeanor charges and Armstrong’s attempts to end the interview and retain legal representation, Coffer stated. She was released before authorities could charge her in Wilson's murder. Investigators eventually issued a warrant for Armstrong’s arrest in the Wilson case, but not before she left Texas.
On Wednesday, Judge Kennedy noted Armstrong was not under arrest and therefore “had no Fifth Amendment right to counsel,” according to the ABC affiliate.
After being released on the misdemeanor charges, Armstrong was spotted at multiple airports around the country — including Houston, New York and Newark — before allegedly using a phony passport to leave the United States for Costa Rica. The manhunt after the warrant was issued for her arrest lasted 43 days.
Foreign officials assisted in tracking Armstrong down at a hostel in Santa Teresa Beach after she allegedly became “associated with some type of yoga studio,” possibly to instruct courses in Costa Rica.
Armstrong also reportedly changed her appearance while living abroad. During a search of Armstrong's belongings, investigators allegedly found receipts and other paperwork revealing someone using the name “Alisson Page” underwent plastic surgery costing more than $6,000 in June, according to KXAN-TV.
Armstrong pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and remains held at the Travis County Jail.