AUSTIN, Texas - The trial date for Kaitlin Armstrong, the woman accused of murdering professional cyclist Moriah "Mo" Wilson, has been set after a judge refused to throw out statements made by police.
State District Judge Brenda Kennedy said Wednesday that police did not violate Armstrong's rights when they continued to question her even after she asked if she could have an attorney present.
Judge Kennedy determined Armstrong didn't have a constitutional right to counsel at that point because she was not under arrest.
Armstrong's attorneys file motions to suppress evidence
At a pre-trial hearing, two police detectives were questioned as Armstrong's attorneys filed two motions to suppress evidence. The hearing was to figure out whether the detectives lied on the probable cause affidavit used to arrest Armstrong for murder.
Armstrong was first brought in for questioning on May 12 for a misdemeanor, accused of not paying for Botox. Because of confusion about her birthday, she was told she was free to leave, something she said she would like to do, but the conversation continued.
A more than 13-minute video shows Armstrong nodding in agreement as an Austin police detective speaks, making statements about wanting her side of the story. The defense argued the affidavit falsely claimed she was nodding with incriminating information revealed earlier in the conversation.
- Kaitlin Armstrong pre-trial hearing final witness called
- Kaitlin Armstrong's attorneys file 2 motions to suppress evidence in pre-trial hearing
- Kaitlin Armstrong's attorneys file to prohibit prejudicial comment to the media
The affidavit also stated Armstrong says she was certain about understanding the detective, when the video shows she said she was actually uncertain. The detective told the court that was a mistake.
The defense also argued the interview was actually an illegal interrogation because Armstrong was never read her Miranda rights. She said she wanted to leave five times and repeatedly said she wanted an attorney.
The detective said she continued the conversation because Armstrong engaged and felt her statements were not definitive.
The defense argued Armstrong used definitive language. The state pointed out the detective told Armstrong she was free to leave five times.
Who is Kaitlin Armstrong?
Armstrong is the prime suspect in the death of 25-year-old cycling star Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson who was found shot dead at a friend’s apartment in East Austin on Maple Avenue near East 7th Street on May 11.
Wilson, a rising cyclist star, had flown from Colorado to Texas earlier that week in preparation for the Gravel Locos race in Hico, where she was a favorite to win. A few weeks earlier, she won the Belgian Waffle Ride in California.
Law enforcement had not been able to locate Armstrong since police briefly detained and mistakenly released Armstrong on an unrelated charge. Armstrong had been arrested for a misdemeanor warrant out of Travis County from 2018.
"Armstrong was questioned about her vehicle being in the area as pictured on the Ring camera. However, she would not confirm or deny being in the area of the murder and quickly terminated the interview," APD Homicide Det. Richard Spitler said in a press conference on May 25.
Spitler went on to say that "(Armstrong) was then mistakenly released from custody on the misdemeanor warrant" because her date of birth in the department’s report management system did not match the date of birth on the warrant.
Investigators believe Wilson was shot and killed over a love triangle since Wilson and Strickland went out the day of the murder and Armstrong’s car was seen driving around where Wilson was killed. Strickland admitted to having "a brief romantic relationship" with Wilson while she was visiting in 2021.
"She returned to her home in California and about a month later, Kaitlin Armstrong and I reconciled and resumed our relationship," Strickland said. "Since then I often saw Mo at cycling events, and always in public settings," his statement further adds. "After our brief relationship in October 2021, we were not in a romantic relationship, only a platonic and professional one."
According to an affidavit, Strickland told investigators that he and Wilson had gone swimming at Deep Eddy Pool, then ate at Pool Burger before he dropped her off at her friend’s house around 8:30 p.m. the night of her death.
Strickland reportedly told police that he had lied to Armstrong about his whereabouts.
An anonymous tipster reportedly told investigators that when Armstrong found out the pair was together, she told the person she wanted to kill Wilson, and also said she had acquired a gun.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.