AUSTIN (KXAN) — Colin Strickland returned to the witness stand Monday in the murder trial for Kaitlin Armstrong.
He began his testimony around 2:30 p.m. Friday. The State is still in its first line of questioning.
Armstrong is accused of shooting and killing pro cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson at an east Austin home on May 11, 2022. Strickland was Armstrong’s boyfriend at the time, and spent the day with Wilson before the shooting.
KXAN’s Brianna Hollis will be in court Monday providing live updates of the trial on social media platform X:
KAITLIN ARMSTRONG: The murder trial resumes today. Key witness Colin Strickland, in the hat and mask here, will continue his testimony. He was dating Armstrong at the time of the murder + the last person to see victim Mo Wilson. Live updates on this thread this AM @KXAN_News pic.twitter.com/Z18XknMmei— Brianna Hollis (@BriHollisNEWS) November 6, 2023
So far, Strickland has testified about this relationships with both Armstrong and Wilson, the last day he spent with Wilson and his conversation with police the following morning.
Homicide detectives with the Austin Police Department questioned Strickland at his home the morning after the murder and Strickland consented to going to police headquarters to deliver an official statement.
Strickland said he and Wilson were only briefly romantic for few weeks in 2021 during a period when he and Armstrong were not together.
Last week, we also heard from Wilson’s brother and friend, several police officers and crime scene analysts and people who live near the home where Wilson was killed.
During opening statements, Armstrong’s attorneys said while video captured a vehicle that prosecutors identified as Armstrong’s near the murder scene, no cameras show Armstrong herself there.
Strickland’s Monday testimony
The bulk of Strickland’s testimony Monday morning centered around text message exchanges between him and Armstrong and him and Wilson. The State displayed the text messages on the courtroom screens.
One exchange indicated something was causing Strickland to not receive certain texts from Wilson. Strickland previously testified that Armstrong had gone into his phone and blocked Wilson.
Phone record evidence also showed Armstrong texting and calling Strickland while he was with Wilson on May 11, and Strickland not responding to those methods of communication and lying about where he was.
The Defense started questioning Strickland around 10:30 a.m. Rick Cofer, one of Armstrong’s attorneys, said he asked to speak with Strickland in October, prior to the trial, and Strickland obliged. It was established during testimony that Strickland said he was trying to forget about May 11 and did not review video of his statements to police before testifying.
Strickland said Armstrong was acting “normal” when she returned home shortly after Strickland got back home from dropping Wilson off at Wilson’s friend’s apartment in east Austin, where Wilson was found dead.
Defense attorneys brought out the firearms Strickland confirmed to have purchased following a conversation with Armstrong in December. They brought him into the well and asked him to demonstrate how his cable lock worked with the pistol. He locked it, but didn’t know how to unlock it.
Strickland said he knew Armstrong had practiced with at least one of the firearms at a shooting range in January of 2022. He said he had not ever fired the guns.
Armstrong’s attorneys asked Strickland about his initial statement to police and Strickland confirmed he told APD at the time Armstrong was “sweet” and wasn’t “capable of hurting anybody.”
As the Defense questioned Strickland, unless he needed to look at something, his head was turned away from where attorneys and Armstrong were sitting.
Prosecutors asked Strickland if he killed Wilson. Strickland said “No.”
Strickland’s friends, homicide detective also testify in Armstrong murder trial
Kenneth Alan Burrows took the stand after Strickland. He described himself as a friend of Strickland’s. The two met through cycling.
Burrows said he was on the phone with Strickland starting at 9:07 p.m. on May 11. Police say Wilson was killed around 9:15 at an east Austin apartment. Burrows said he Strickland was at home looking through his garage for a bike part while the two were on the phone.
Armstrong’s attorneys pushed Burrows on how he knew for certain that Strickland was home because it was just an audio call not a FaceTime call.
Detective Richard Spitler with the APD homicide unit was the last to take the stand Monday. The State was still questioning him when the judge called for a wrap on the day.
Spitler said Strickland was cooperative throughout the entire interview process, and said that during the course of his official interview with Strickland, Spitler determined Armstrong needed to be brought in for questioning. Spitler said that was due to the combination of learning the black Jeep with the bike rack at Strickland’s house belonged to Armstrong and the knowledge he gained during the interview from Strickland that there were guns inside the home.
Judge Brenda Kennedy has ruled that testimony will resume Wednesday instead of Tuesday.