AUSTIN (KXAN) — Prosecutors called more witnesses Thursday in the murder trial for Kaitlin Armstrong, who’s accused of shooting and killing pro cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in May 2022.
Both sides delivered opening statements Wednesday morning. The state outlined a timeline of evidence gathered from phone and GPS records of Armstrong and Wilson’s actions leading up to the shooting. Prosecutors also discussed the relationship between Armstrong, Wilson and Armstrong’s then-boyfriend Colin Strickland.
The defense’s primary argument appears to be the notion that even though there is surveillance of gunshots and her Jeep, there is no camera footage of Armstrong actually shooting Wilson.
“I want to talk to you about what you didn’t hear about,” defense attorney Geoffrey Puryear said. “Not one witness saw Kaitlin Armstrong allegedly commit this murder because there isn’t one.”
Wilson’s brother Matt was the first to testify. The state asked about his sister’s collegiate skiing career as well as her up-and-coming professional cycling endeavors. He also spoke about the kind of person his sister was, saying they were both extremely close.
Matt said Wilson and Strickland did not have a romantic relationship at the time of Wilson’s death, but did previously have a casual dating relationship during the previous year.
Caitlin Cash was the next to testify. She’s the friend Wilson stayed with while she was in Austin. She discussed the night Wilson died and how Cash found her on the floor of her apartment.
Several first responders from the scene also testified.
KXAN cannot record testimony, but we will update this article throughout the day as witnesses testify, as well as bring you the latest in our newscast.
Prosecutors bring key piece of evidence — bicycle found near scene — into courtroom
Thursday morning, Caitlan Longoria and Katie Ferrara, both crime scene specialists with the Austin Forensic Science Department, took questions about their response to the scene the night Wilson was found dead.
It’s important to note, the forensic science department is a standalone department and not part of APD.
Longoria said she took more than 400 photos at the crime scene and noted seeing what she believed were projectiles on the floor in the kitchen as well as on the floor in the bathroom near Wilson’s body.
Ferrara said her job on scene was to process certain areas for prints and DNA. During her testimony, prosecutors brought the bicycle found in a grass patch near the scene into the courtroom. It was wrapped in a plastic bag. Ferrara said she swabbed the bicycle for DNA on the scene before packaging it.
In Cash’s testimony, she said she recognized the bike as Wilson’s bike. Both the state and defense have placed a large focus on the bike as well as Wilson’s black bike bag, which police found outside near the stairs that go up to Cash’s apartment.
Ferrara, as well as the attorneys, wore gloves as they unwrapped the bike. Armstrong took notes for a portion of the questioning surrounding the bicycle.
Homicide detective at time of murder goes over initial steps of investigation
Sergeant Timothy Price was the third new witness to take the stand Wednesday. He said he was a homicide detective at the time of Wilson’s death.
Price said as part of the initial investigation, he knocked on the door of a nearby home, which was the home of David Harris – Cash’s neighbor and landlord. Harris told Price he had not heard anything and Price said he did not seem concerned, and gave police consent to search the yard. During cross examination, the defense asked “gunshots are loud, right?”
The defense further asked why Price didn’t go into Harris’ home, and Price said the evidence didn’t point to the necessity of it. During the state’s questioning, prosecutors discussed the process of issuing search warrants to search people’s homes.
Price also discussed video of a black Jeep leaving the scene. Note, APD told media during the original investigation a black Jeep belonging to Armstrong was an integral part of the investigation.
After discussing seeing the Jeep while being questioned by the state, the defense asked Price if he was aware of the term “confirmation bias,” which Price defined as the “tendency for someone to take information and form it into something they already believe.” Defense attorneys asked if Price had canvassed the area for other black SUV’s, he said he did not.
Price said investigators on scene thoroughly searched for and handled all evidence.
He also noted the medical examiner told him Wilson’s body had three gunshot wounds, two in the head and face area and one in the chest.
Gunshots heard in doorbell video from home near apartment where Wilson was killed
The state called four people to the stand who lived near the east Austin apartment where Wilson was found dead on May 11.
Prosecutors played doorbell and home surveillance video from three of the neighbors. In each, you can see a black SUV that prosecutors have previously said belonged to Armstrong driving through the neighborhood before 9 p.m. the day Wilson died.
In one video, you can hear screams followed by gunshots about 30 minutes after the SUV is seen “slowly” driving through the neighborhood.
The defense asked the owner of that video, Michael Donlin – who now lives out-of-state – if he had ever seen Armstrong in person or on surveillance video. Donlin said no.
A man named David Harris also testified. He’s Cash’s landlord and his backyard butts up to her apartment. Police say when they knocked on Harris’ door the night Wilson died, Harris did not seem concerned, and said he did not hear gunshots.
When Harris testified, he said he recollected the following day that while he was in his garage, which is closer to Cash’s place, he heard someone running down the stairs and a bike “whisking” away.
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.
She eventually made her way to Costa Rica, where U.S. Marshals found and arrested her on June 30, 2022. Police said she cut and dyed her hair and had a bandage on her nose and bruised eyes.
On Oct. 11, three weeks before the start of the trial, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said Armstrong tried to escape custody after a doctor’s appointment in south Austin. She ran from corrections officers, who caught up to her in about 10 minutes.
There is currently a gag order on the case, so no one connected to it can comment on the proceedings until the trial concludes.