AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the murder trial for Kaitlin Armstrong, accused of shooting and killing pro cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson on May 11, 2022, continues, the State began Wednesday with addressing video footage of the victim from hours before she was killed.
The owner of the restaurant across from Pool Burger began testimony Wednesday about surveillance video near Wilson and Strickland — Armstrong’s now-former boyfriend — as Wilson and Strickland spent the afternoon together on May 11.
Detective Richard Spitler took the stand Monday and was in the middle of his testimony, but the court did not continue with him Wednesday morning due to a scheduling conflict for Spitler. His testimony will resume from the point it left off at another time. So far, he has addressed his work the night of Wilson’s murder as well as his questioning of Armstrong’s former boyfriend Colin Strickland the following morning.
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.
You can follow live updates from KXAN’s Brianna Hollis below on the social media platform “X.”
Kaitlin Armstrong Day 5: The head homicide detective on the case, Richard Spitler, is expected to resume testimony this morning. Catch up on the case at the link below. I'll update live on this thread. @KXAN_News https://t.co/IygZ7UrbTP— Brianna Hollis (@BriHollisNEWS) November 8, 2023
Last week, the State displayed several surveillance videos that showed what prosecutors say is that Jeep near the murder scene in east Austin. One of the Defense’s main arguments during opening statements was the notion that none of that video captures Armstrong herself, just the car.
Lead homicide detective goes through electronic records tied to Armstrong, shows online searches for ‘Kaitlin Armstrong’
As Spitler resumed his testimony Wednesday, he addressed ballistic, GPS, DNA and electronic evidence he said he used in his investigation into Armstrong.
“Armstrong’s DNA was actually found on Ms. Wilson’s bicycle that was taken from the apartment and put into the bushes,” Spitler said on the stand.
He said GPS data from Armstrong’s Jeep matches with the surveillance video that shows a black SUV with a bike rack driving in the east Austin neighborhood where Wilson was killed around the time of the murder.
The State presented a series of pieces of phone and email records tied to the case. Spitler said he issued “25-30” search warrants for this type of information.
Below is a list of what Spitler said investigators found in those records:
- A recently deleted note from Armstrong’s notes mobile application with the address 1704 Maple Avenue. Wilson died at 1708 Maple Avenue.
- Google subscriber information from Armstrong’s records indicating the creation of a new email address in the days after Wilson’s murder. Below are the records found sent to that email.
- Uber receipt from Armstrong’s home to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
- A Southwest Airlines itinerary email with “Kaitlin Armstrong’s trip” written in the subject line.
- An email about a prepared Visa card addressed to “Kaitlin”
- Reservation for a flight from Newark to Costa Rica with the traveler information listed as “Christie Armstrong.” Armstrong’s sister’s full name is Christine.
- VPN purchase
- Skype purchase
- From information listed in the Google subscriber “search folder,” records showed searches for English/Spanish translations and searches for “Kaitlin Armstrong” that yielded news coverage results.
Defense calls for mistrial prompted by evidence related to vandalism night after murder
Spitler and Strickland both testified about a vandalism at Strickland and Armstrong’s south Austin home the night after Wilson was murdered, where Strickland’s motorcycle was pushed into Armstrong’s Jeep.
Spitler testified that information was not included in the murder evidence APD provided to the District Attorney’s Office. Once he said that on the stand, defense attorney Rick Cofer said that was grounds for a mistrial.
Judge Brenda Kennedy denied the motion for a mistrial.
Spitler said he did not include that in the evidence APD had against Armstrong because the vandalism was a separate case being investigated by another unit.
Information surrounding the vandalism was later submitted into evidence.
Armstrong’s friends said they suspected something after learning of Wilson’s death
Two of Armstrong’s friends took the stand Wednesday afternoon, saying they called APD after learning Wilson died to provide information about Armstrong.
One friend said her first reaction when she saw a news story about police investigating Wilson’s death as a homicide – was that Armstrong might have had something to do with it. She said Armstrong had once told her, while the two spoke about Armstrong and Strickland’s relationship, that she would kill Wilson.
Another friend said Armstrong, in early 2022 was “visibly angry” when she Armstrong “in so many words” that she would kill Wilson and had thought about it. Like the other friend, this woman did not think anything substantial of it at the time because she thought it was just a comment made while Armstrong’s emotions were high.
The owner of the Carmax police said Armstrong sold her Jeep – a key piece of evidence – to testify after Armstrong’s friends. The State displayed an appraisal document with Armstrong’s name from that Carmax.
The last person, as of 5:30 p.m., to take the stand in the case was a representative from Strava, a cycling-tracking app used by Wilson, Strickland and Armstrong.
History of the case
On May 11, 2022, Austin police found Wilson with a gunshot wound at an east Austin home. She ultimately died at the scene. Wilson, originally from Vermont, was in town for a race in Texas.
Police said Armstrong’s Jeep was in the area of the home where authorities found Wilson dead around the time of the shooting. On May 14, surveillance video captured Armstrong at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. On May 17, APD issued a murder warrant for Armstrong.
There is currently a gag order on the case, so no one connected to it can comment on the proceedings until the trial concludes.