AUSTIN (KXAN) — The State continued to call witnesses in the murder trial for Kaitlin Armstrong Monday.
Armstrong is accused of shooting and killing pro cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson on May 11, 2022.
On Thursday, testimony ended with a digital forensic detective with the Austin Police Department going through GPS data he analyzed from Armstrong’s Jeep. The State presented an interactive map that showed Armstrong’s Jeep in the neighborhood of the east Austin home where Wilson was killed on the night of the murder.
Follow live updates from KXAN’s Brianna Hollis on social media platform “X” below:
Back at the courthouse this morning for #KaitlinArmstrong's murder trial. Testimony ended last week w/ an APD digital forensic detective addressing GPS data showing Armstrong's Jeep near the home where prosecutors say she killed Mo Wilson in May 2022. Follow live updates here. pic.twitter.com/wKw3JtW9HU— Brianna Hollis (@BriHollisNEWS) November 13, 2023
Earlier in the trial, the state prosecutors displayed several home surveillance videos that show what they say was Armstrong’s Jeep near the home at the time as well. Police also said they found Armstrong’s DNA on Wilson’s bike in the grass near the murder scene.
Armstrong’s attorneys’ primary argument during opening statements was that no cameras caught Armstrong herself at the home.
Cameras are not permitted in the courtroom during testimony, but KXAN has a crew inside and will update this article throughout the day.
Digital forensic detective, DA’s office staff address phone records from May 11
Prosecutors called Detective Daniel Portnoy back to the stand Monday morning. He primarily addressed GPS data last week. This week, prosecutors had him go through data he extracted from laptops and cellphones belonging to Armstrong, Wilson and Armstrong’s former boyfriend Colin Strickland.
Portnoy said Wilson’s phone data showed her phone in use for about 45 essentially consecutive minutes before 9:15 p.m. on May 11, when police say Wilson was killed.
Portnoy said Armstrong’s phone was shut off from 7:30 to 9:47 p.m. that evening. He also addressed another device with a sim card linked to an out-of-state number registered to a “K. Armstrong.”
During cross examination, the Defense asked Portnoy several questions about the reliability of GPS and location data.
After lunch, Brandi Stanfield with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office took the stand. She also works in digital forensics.
The State first displayed various photos of a woman Stanfield identified as Armstrong with bandages on her nose from June 2022. U.S. Marshals assisted in arresting Armstrong in June 2022, the month after the shooting, in Costa Rica. Authorities said she received rhinoplasty and died her hair darker.
Stanfield also testified about a What’s App conversation she said Armstrong had requesting quotes and a schedule for rhinoplasty.
Testimony from gun range owner, acquaintance who helped Armstrong with gun safety
The third person to take the stand Monday was David Luppino, the general manager of The Range at Austin.
During his testimony, the State displayed receipts from both Armstrong and her sister Christine for rounds of ammunition purchased in January 2022. When Strickland testified closer to the start of the trial, he said he purchased firearms in December 2021 after a conversation with Armstrong in which she stated she was paranoid about certain things like riding a bike in the woods alone and a nearby homeless camp.
When defense attorneys cross examined Luppino, they established 28 other people purchased the same type of ammunition Armstrong did on the same January day.
The next witness was Jill Zann, who said she met Armstrong through Armstrong’s sister Christine. Zann said she met Christine because they lived in the same apartment complex.
Zann testified to being very familiar and comfortable with firearms, and Christine sharing with her that Kaitlin had recently purchased a gun. From there, Zann said, they had a conversation about firearm safety and set up a time for Zann to help teach the Armstrong sisters about gun safety. She said the three met one day at her apartment for that lesson before going to The Range to practice.
The last witness to testify Monday was Steven Aston, a firearms forensics examiner with the Austin Crime Lab. The State established him as an expert witness; he also examined ballistics in Armstrong’s case. He wrapped up Monday by comparing bullets found on the scene to bullets test fired from the same gun police say Armstrong had.
Aston will likely continue his testimony Tuesday.
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 assisted in finding and arresting her on June 30, 2022. Police said she cut and dyed her hair and had a bandage on her nose and bruised eyes.
There is currently a gag order on the case, so no one connected to it can comment on the proceedings until the trial concludes.