AUSTIN, Texas – A woman convicted of murder in the shooting death of aspiring professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson faces life in prison in Texas when she is sentenced in a case that led investigators on a 43-day international manhunt to find her.
Kaitlin Armstrong, 35, was sentenced Thursday. Jurors will also recommend a verdict and are expected to resume deliberations on Friday.
Prosecutors said Armstrong gunned down 25-year-old Wilson in a jealous rage in May 2022. Wilson, also known as “Mo,” had briefly dated Armstrong’s girlfriend several months earlier. Wilson swam and dined with him the day she was killed.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours after two weeks of testimony before reaching their verdict.
“From the day she was born, she had a force in her,” Wilson’s mother, Karen Wilson, told jurors Thursday at the start of the trial. “She lived like every day was her last. And she lived it so fully. She never wasted any time… It’s like she knew her life was going to be short.”
Wilson’s family and friends, who sat in the front row for most of the trial, hugged and cried after the verdict.
Caitlin Cash, the friend who found Wilson’s body and tried to perform CPR, told jurors that earlier that day she had texted Wilson’s mother with a photo of her starting a bike ride with a note: “Your girl is in safe hands here in Austin.”
“I felt a lot of guilt not being able to protect her,” Cash said. “I fought for her with everything I had.”
Kaitlin Armstrong’s younger sister Christine and their mother sat behind the defense table and cried after the verdict. Armstrong’s father stood still for several minutes.
Christine Armstrong told jurors that her older sister “is not a bad person.”
“She’s such a special person,” Christine Armstrong said before looking at her sister. “I always looked up to you … She always cared about other people.”
A Vermont native and former alpine skier at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Wilson was a rising star in pro gravel and mountain bike racing. She was visiting Austin ahead of a race in Texas where she was among the favorites to win.
Kaitlin Armstrong tracked Wilson to the apartment where she lived through a fitness app and shot her three times, twice in the head and once through the heart, investigators said.
“I would have done anything to stand in the way of that bullet,” Karen Wilson said. “She didn’t deserve such a death.”
Kaitlin Armstrong did not testify on her own behalf during the trial.
Her Jeep was seen near the apartment around the time Wilson was shot, and bullet casings found near Wilson’s body matched a gun owned by Armstrong. Armstrong briefly met with police before selling his vehicle and using his sister’s passport to fly to Costa Rica.
She spent more than $6,000 on a nose job there and changed the color and style of her hair to evade authorities before being arrested at a beachside hostel, investigators said.
Armstrong again tried to elude authorities during a medical appointment on Oct. 11 outside the jail. She faces a separate charge of escape.