A jury in Texas has sentenced Kaitlin Armstrong to up to 90 years in jail for the murder of top gravel racer Anna Moriah Wilson, known as Mo, in May last year, a crime that left the close-knit cycling community in the United States in shock.
The sentence, handed down yesterday at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Austin, is more than double the minimum of 40 years that prosecutors had been seeking in the case.
During the trial, the court heard that Armstrong, aged 37, had shot Wilson, 25, twice in the head and once in the heart.
Wilson was in Austin to participate in the Gravel Locos race, which she was favourite to win, and on the day she was murdered went for a swim and had dinner with fellow gravel racer Colin Strickland, Armstrong’s partner.
Strickland and Armstrong had broken up for a period the previous year, during which time he and Wilson had a sexual relationship, although he has insisted that at the time of her murder, they were no more than platonic friends.
Minutes after Strickland dropped Wilson off at the apartment of a friend with whom she was staying, Armstrong arrived in her Jeep at the same address, having followed the movements of her perceived love rival via Strava, and shot her dead.
She was subsequently interviewed by police on an unrelated matter and released, at which point she sold her car and left Texas, visiting her sister in New York and using her passport to flee the country.
Armstrong was tracked down six weeks later in Costa Rica, where she passed herself off as a yoga teacher. She had dyed her hair and had also undergone plastic surgery to try and alter her appearance.
After she was sentenced, Wilson’s mother Karen, who was present in court, addressed Armstrong directly, telling her: “When you shot Moriah in the heart, you shot me in the heart ... all the people who loved her, pierced their hearts.”
The jury, who had convicted Armstrong on Thursday, took less than three hours yesterday to decide upon a sentence, and also determined that she be fined $10,000.
Ahead of her trial, Armstrong tried to escape custody last month while attending a medical appointment and will face a separate trial on a charge of felony escape at a future date.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.