QCOSTARICA — A Texas, U.S. jury convicted yoga teacher, Kaitlin Armstrong, 35, who tried desperately to avoid accountability for, in a jealous rage, gunning down pro cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson in May 2022.
The Austin, Texas, woman fled to Costa Rica, got a new nose, and changed her hair. All of her efforts were in vain.
American officials caught the fugitive with help from Costa Rican authorities, then dragged her back to face justice, which was meted out this week despite a last-ditch escape effort.
A Texas jury convicted Armstrong Thursday of murder.
Wilson, a Vermont native and world-class cyclist, was in Austin on May 11, 2022, to compete in a cycling race. Hours before her slaying, she went out for a bike ride and a meal with Colin Strickland, a fellow cyclist and former boyfriend. Strickland also happened to be an on-again, off-again boyfriend of Armstrong’s.
Strickland and Wilson had a brief romantic relationship from late October to early November 2021 that spanned a week or so while Wilson was visiting Austin and his subsequent encounters with Wilson were “platonic and professional.”
Surveillance video captured Armstrong’s black Jeep Grand Cherokee pull up to the residence where Wilson was staying just moments after Strickland had dropped her off following their purportedly platonic get-together.
CNN indicated that prosecutors detailed during Armstrong’s trial how she had access to Strickland’s texts and also had used a geolocation app to track Wilson.
In addition to poring over the victim’s social media profile in the days leading up to her trigger pull, she also made note of Wilson’s address. Authorities later learned that not long before the slaying, Armstrong had acquired a firearm and expressed fury upon learning Strickland had been romantically involved with Wilson.
Police later found Wilson bleeding out from gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene, three days before she was scheduled to compete in the 157-mile Gravel Locos bike race.
Surveillance footage caught the sound of the victim’s screams, followed by two gunshots.
Armstrong sold her vehicle two days after Wilson’s death. The sale of the SUV was not just a matter of ditching evidence but getting enough cash to flee the country.
Days after her initial questioning by police, Armstrong flew from Austin to Houston, then took another flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, and then flew to San José, Costa Rica, via Newark Liberty International Airport using her sister’s name and passport.
According to investigators, Armstrong blew US$6,000 on a nose job in Costa Rica, changed her hairstyle and hair color, and altogether attempted to lay low, passing time as a yoga instructor, reported the Associated Press. The killer also used various aliases while moving around the region.
After 43 days on the run, the U.S. authorities, working with Costa Rican authorities, tracked down Armstrong to a hostel on Santa Teresa de Cobano, Puntarenas.
Armstrong was arrested on June 29, 2022, then deported on July 2 to the United States, where she pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder.
Despite her arrest, Armstrong’s days of running were evidently not over.
The Associated Press reported on October 11, whiel Texas corrections officers were escorting Armstrong to a doctor’s appointment, she decided to run once more, reported t. Travis County Sheriff spokesman Kristen Dark said the killer made it over a block away before deputies caught up with her.
Armstrong faces a separate felony escape charge for this attempt.
After two hours of deliberation last Thursday, a Texas jury determined that Armstrong was guilty of first-degree murder. The yoga teacher, who will be sentenced Friday, faces a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison.