AUSTIN (KXAN) — The judge presiding over the murder trial for Kaitlin Armstrong is allowing media to film opening statements, closing arguments and the verdict, but not witness testimony.
Armstrong is accused of shooting and killing professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson in May 2022.
The courts selected a jury Monday for Armstrong’s trial. Cameras are never allowed inside the courtroom for jury selection to protect the identity of jurors.
Judge Brenda Kennedy is presiding over Armstrong’s trial. KXAN reached out to the judge Monday morning to ask about her decision-making process regarding when cameras are and are not allowed during the trial. We will update this story when we hear back from her. Decisions are up to each individual judge.
Retired Travis County judge Charlie Baird said when it comes to making decisions about whether cameras are allowed in, judges consider whether televising the trial will impact the following:
- Juror safety
- Courtroom demeanor
- Future jurors if a mistrial occurs
“Would witnesses by intimidated by TV cameras knowing what they say in open court is going to be shown?” he said. “If you have a case like the Armstrong case where individuals are typically going to be civilians who testify – and are not used to testifying in court – maybe they would be intimated or impacted by the TV viewing audience.”
Reporters are still allowed inside the courtroom during court all proceedings and can take notes and report any information that is presented when there are no cameras around.
“The judge is going to do the right thing to make sure a defendant has a fair trial,” said Kevin Madison, an expert witness and legal consultant who formerly worked for the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Madison calls judges’ decisions in these cases “a balancing act.”
“It does have an impact on folks who are testifying and also on counsel,” he said. “It can affect it where people do more grandiose things or may feel less compelled to reinforce certain questions and worry about public reaction.”
KXAN will live stream the opening and closing statements on KXAN.com and on the KXAN Facebook page.
The trial will begin 9 a.m. Wednesday.