Kaitlin Armstrong’s ex-boyfriend prompted shocked gasps during her high-profile murder trial when he made a bid to distance himself from the alleged killer.
Ms Armstrong is currently facing trial at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Austin over the murder of rising pro cyclist Moriah Wilson. Prosecutors have alleged that Ms Armstrong, a yoga teacher, targeted Wilson because they were both involved in a love triangle with Colin Strickland, Ms Armstrong’s then on-and-off boyfriend.
Wilson was fatally shot on 11 May 2022, just hours after spending time with Mr Strickland at a poolside bar. She was dropped off by Mr Strickland at the home of her friend Caitlin Cash, who later that night found Wilson lying dead in a pool of blood.
Mr Strickland, who had bonded with Wilson over their love for professional cycling, took the stand on Thursday to testify about his tumultuous relationship with Ms Armstrong. He admitted that he had briefly been romantic with Wilson while he and Ms Armstrong were separated and that he went on to remain friendly with the up-and-coming cyclist when he reconciled with Ms Armstrong.
Mr Strickland previously told the court that he and the yoga teacher loved each other and that she had been extremely helpful with his business affairs and finances. But his remarks took a turn on Monday after he seemingly tried to distance himself from Ms Armstrong during his second day of testimony.
“You know Kaitlin Armstrong very well, don’t you?” Ms Armstrong’s attorneys asked during cross-examination.
“No, I do not,” Mr Strickland answered, prompting an audible gasp in the court, according to NewsNation reporter Alex Caprariello, who was in the room.
Mr Strickland and his ex-girlfriend were together when Austin Police Department detectives arrived at his home on 12 May 2022. Last week, the court was shown bodycam footage of the couple’s reaction to news of Wilson’s murder.
Mr Strickland later joined investigators at the police station, where he was interviewed for nearly six hours. Investigators asked Mr Strickland about her black Jeep, the same model of car seen on surveillance footage near the home where Wilson was found.
The car had also been spotted near the swimming pool bar that Mr Strickland and Wilson had been at just hours before she was killed. Ms Strickland suggested during his testimony that investigators knew it belonged to Ms Armstrong.
The following day, authorities served a search warrant and seized weapons from his home. Crime scene specialist Mirezha Guevara testified on Friday that while she was taking pictures of the firearms evidence and Ms Armstrong’s black Jeep, she also noticed Ms Armstrong’s passport and foreign currency inside the home.
An attorney representing both Mr Strickland and Ms Armstrong was present while the warrant was served on 12 May 2022, but investigators did not ask to interview Ms Armstrong. Mr Strickland reportedly consulted another attorney the following day and decided that same day to separate completely from Ms Armstrong.
He then went to his business’s headquarters in Lockhart and did not see Ms Armstrong again.
On 14 May, Ms Armstrong took a flight from Austin to Houston and eventually went to Costa Rica, where she was found and arrested more than a month later.
Elsewhere in his testimony, Mr Strickland said that he had countless arguments with Ms Armstrogn over her fits of jealousy. In one instance, she even told Mr Strickland to “send [her] love to Mo” after he posted an Instagram video with Wilson in the background.
Mr Strickland said he “felt it was extremely passive-aggressive”. He also said that Ms Armstrong had confronted Wilson on the phone, which the slain cyclist reportedly found upsetting and troubling.
Prosecutors believe that one of the guns recovered from Mr Strickland and Ms Arsmtrong’s shared home was the one used to kill Wilson. Mr Strickland testified last week that he had purchased the weapon with his ex-girlfriend in 2021 after she voiced fears about riding her bike alone.
The state also revealed during opening statements that DNA found on Wilson’s bike was “highly likely” to have come from Ms Armstrong.
Wilson’s bike was discovered lying in the middle of bamboo a few yards from the apartment where she was found dead.
Meanwhile, Ms Armstrong’s attorneys tried to argue during Mr Strickland’s cross-examination that the DNA could have transferred from his jacket or helmet to Wilson while they rode to the bar where they spent their final night together.