Austin yoga teacher Kaitlin Armstrong will spend 90 years behind bars for the murder of professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson.
Armstrong was found guilty of the killing, which took place on May 11 2022, on Thursday after brief jury deliberations.
On Friday afternoon, after a further three and half hours of deliberation, jurors returned with her sentence. As well as nine decades in prison, she was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Wilson’s family members in the courtroom cried and embraced each other while Armstrong remained emotionless as the sentence was passed down.
The two women had become involved in a love triangle with Armstrong’s then on-and-off boyfriend and Wilson’s fellow cyclist Colin Strickland. Wilson was found dead at her friend’s apartment with multiple gunshot wounds.
Following the murder, Armstrong had fled the country, remaining at large for 43 days before being apprehended by authorities.
After receiving her sentence, Armstrong was addressed directly by Wilson’s friend Caitlin Cash, and her mother, Karen Wilson.
Karen Wilson told her: “I hate what you did to my beautiful daughter it was very selfish and cowardly.”
“When you shot Moriah in the heart, you shot me in my heart. You shot Eric and Matt in the heart... You shot cousins and aunts and uncles and all the people who loved her, there their hearts.”
Ms Wilson said that had Armstrong endeavoured to have a “civil” conversation with her daughter, things may have been resolved.
“She would have cared about your feelings. She was a caring empathetic person,” she said.
In her own remarks Ms Cash noted that “so many people in this room have lost so much. “I’m struck by how much this is affected so many people have watched your parents in court every day. Not one smiling or interacting with anyone just waiting to see what happens to their daughter,” she said.
“I watch my own dad struggled to look at the videos and the audio throughout the trial. I’ve seen Colin [Strickland] take the stand, unable to even sit fully upright as he answered question after question about the innermost pieces of his life. A man whose lives have also been turned upside down by this tragedy.
“The ripple effect is almost incomprehensible. It’s also unbelievably sad and painful any way you look at it. So many people in this room have lost so much.”
Armstrong continued to maintain her stoney-faced demeanour, barely reacting as she was escorted out of the courtroom to begin her sentence.
After proceedings were adjourned, the Wilson family stood and hugged each other. Ms Cash and Ms Wilson cried in each others’ arms before Wilson’s father, Eric Wilson, came to hug them both.
The court had previously heard other heart-wrenching impact statements from Wilson’s family and friends on Thursday prior to the sentencing. Armstrong’s own family also gave testimony.
During these statements Karen Wilson told the court that her daughter “did not deserve a death like that”.
“When you love somebody so much, and if any of you are parents, you understand what that means... when you love someone that much, and it’s taken from you, the depth of the joy of that love is equal to the depth of the pain you have to live with,” she said.
“I just miss her so much and nothing here can bring her back and I knew that coming down here. I would have done anything to stand in the way of that bullet and I wasn’t there to protect her.
“And she died all alone on the floor of her friend’s house. She did not deserve a death like that.”
On Friday, prior to the sentence, Assistant District Attorney Rick Jones told the court that he wanted “today to be about Mo Wilson”, and not Armstrong.
Holding up a photo of Wilson he said: “She was a beautiful person... I was so moved by [Karen’s] words...it oozed from her yesterday, as well as Eric.
“That’s a parent’s love.”