By TIFFANY SMITH
AUSTIN, Texas (Court TV) — Two of Kaitlin Armstrong‘s former friends testified that she confided to them that she was “angry” about her boyfriend Colin Strickland dating Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson and said she wanted to kill Wilson.
Armstrong is currently standing trial on charges she shot and killed Wilson on May 11, 2022.
Nicole Mertz, who considered Armstrong a best friend before the murder, said while with Armstrong at the Meteor restaurant in November 2021, Wilson walked in, and it invoked a strong reaction from Armstrong. “She was visibly angry, and I never seen her like that,” Mertz said.
Armstrong told Mertz that she and Colin had recently broken up.
Mertz asked Armstrong, “If Colin ever started dating anyone else, seriously what she would do, and she said, ‘I would kill her.”
An acquaintance of Armstrong, Jacqueline Chasteen, echoed Mertz’s testimony. Chasteen met her through Colin Strickland, but they became fast friends. Armstrong told Chasteen in January 2022 at a bike race dinner in Benton, Arkansas, that she found out that Strickland had cheated on her with Wilson. Armstrong said Wilson “tried to stop” Wilson from texting but would not stop texting. She went on to say, “in so many words that she thought about killing Wilson and wanted to kill her.”
The conversation between Armstrong and Chasteen continued the next day through text messages. Armstrong talked about purchasing a gun.
Wilson and Strickland briefly had a “causal relationship” in October 2021 during a brief breakup between Armstrong and Strickland. The two got back together when Wilson came to Austin to prepare for a cycling race in May 2022. Strickland testified that he and Wilson were only friends.
Wilson and Strickland went swimming at Deep Eddy pool and walked over to eat burgers at a nearby restaurant, Pool Burger. Strickland said he dropped Wilson off on his BMW motorcycle at a friend’s apartment where she was staying and went back to his home.
Videos from several home security cameras showed Strickland’s motorcycle heading north at 8:35 p.m. to drop Wilson off. Caitlin Cash’s home security showed that Wilson unlocked the door to her apartment at 8:36 p.m. Surveillance video showed Strickland’s motorcycle on the road near his home at 8:43 p.m. Those same cameras show that a black Jeep with a bike rack was also seen in the area.
There has been no official time of death, but a video recorded screams and three gunshots in the area at around 9:15 p.m. on May 11, 2022.
Detective Richard Spitler outlined what Armstrong did after her initial conversation with investigators following the murder.
According to police, Armstrong began deactivating email and social media accounts. Two new emails and subscriptions for a private VPN and a Skype account were created. She immediately booked an airline ticket to New York through Southwest Airlines. Once in New York, Armstrong purchased an airline ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica, on May 18, 2022, using her sister’s name, Christine Armstrong.
Investigators learned on June 2, 2022, that Armstrong sold her 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee to CarMax for $12,200 two days after the murder. A search warrant was immediately obtained to remove the infotainment system. The system’s GPS revealed that before Armstrong arrived home, she stopped near two dumpsters near Strickland’s home.
Spitler said Google search results revealed that Armstrong searched for the address where Wilson was staying in Austin, Texas, which was later deleted. She also searched for burning fingerprints using pineapples, plastic surgery, and news articles about Wilson and herself.
On cross-examination, the defense asked several questions regarding evidence that was not tested that would have determined whether Wilson had been sexually assaulted. Spitler responded, “Her dress and bathing suit were on, and there were no signs of sexual assault.”
Cofer then asked why Strickland’s laptop was not searched, to which Spitler replied, “Strickland was not a suspect.” Cofer, “Do you believe Kaitlin Armstrong is a jealous person?” Spitler replied, “Armstrong could have been upset with Wilson’s success as a female cyclist.”
“Do you believe Armstrong, Strickland, and Wilson were involved in a love triangle?” Cofer. “No,” Spitler replied.
That line of questioning went into Wilson’s past relationships. Spitler said, “We interviewed Wilson’s ex-boyfriend and a close male friend” and found out they were not in Austin when Wilson was killed.
Rick Cofer abruptly stood up during his questioning of Spitler and asked Judge Brenda Kennedy to declare a mistrial, stating that the state never turned over the incident report about vandalism outside the house shared by Strickland and Armstrong. Strickland testified in the early morning hours after the murder, someone pushed his motorcycle into Armstrong’s jeep. The stone pavers had been overturned and placed on the driveway. One of them had $2 under one of the pavers.
Detective Spitler testified the vandalism report was not part of the murder investigation and was being investigated by a different unit.
Judge Kennedy denied the motion for a mistrial.
The final witness Wednesday, a representative for the cycling app, Strava, said that Armstrong knew Wilson was in Austin because she checked Wilson’s profile six times. In addition, Strickland told Armstrong that Wilson was in town to train for a race in Hico, TX, because he knew she had problems with his friendship with Wilson.
Cell phone records shown to the jury show that Strickland’s friend Alan Burrows called Strickland at 9:07 p.m., which lasted eight minutes. Burrows testified that he called to borrow bicycle parts from Strickland and was looking for them in his garage. Defense attorneys say the cell phone records do not show where Stickland was when he took the phone call. Armstrong arrived home just after the phone call around 9:27 p.m.
The defense contends that Armstrong did not have time to kill Wilson, and there are other suspects. Strickland kept all vehicle keys in a bowl in the living room. About 30 or more people had access to Strickland’s home.
The Court is only permitting cameras to record opening statements, closing arguments and the verdict in Kaitlin Armstrong’s trial. We are in court bringing you the latest details each day here.