AUSTIN, Texas - The final witness was called in a days-long pre-trial hearing for Kaitlin Armstrong Monday.
Armstrong, a former Austin realtor and yoga instructor, is accused of murdering professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson in East Austin in May. Detectives believe Wilson and Armstrong’s boyfriend, professional cyclist Colin Strickland, had relations.
Armstrong’s attorneys are asking Judge Brenda Kennedy to throw out some evidence in the case. They argue that an interview with Armstrong conducted by Austin Police Detective Katy Conner on May 12 was an illegal interrogation.
Armstrong was brought in for questioning on May 12 regarding the murder under a theft of service warrant. The warrant was for an unrelated incident that is still working through the court system. She is accused of not paying for a Botox treatment.
Conner told Armstrong she had to read her Miranda rights, but was interrupted before reading them by a knock on the door. Conner was informed by her colleagues that the warrant was not valid because of a discrepancy with Armstrong’s birthdate and the birthdate on the warrant.
Armstrong’s attorneys say her birthdate did match the date on the warrant. Conner, believing the warrant was for a different Kaitlin Armstrong, told Armstrong she was free to leave. Armstrong told Conner she would like to leave. She asked to leave five times.
Conner told her she was free to leave five times. Armstrong repeatedly asked for an attorney. She was never read her Miranda rights. Whether questioning should have continued for several minutes will be taken into consideration as part of the ruling.
Monday, Douglas Deaton, a retired Plano Police Lt. called the interview a "case study of how not to interview a homicide suspect." He said questioning should have stopped the second time Armstrong asked for an attorney.
Excerpts from the interview were included in the probable cause affidavit written by Detective Richard Spitler. Armstrong is misquoted in the document and there is argument as to whether her actions were mischaracterized. Her attorneys argue law enforcement lied on the document.
Deaton said the document, used to arrest Armstrong for murder, was "borderline character assassination." He accused detectives of trying to "paint a picture" and said it is a "common trap" that "inexperienced detectives" often fall into. Spitler and Conner were new to the unit when the homicide occurred. Wilson’s homicide was the first time Spitler had served as lead homicide detective.
Deaton added that the affidavit was "not the quality of writing [he] would expect from a fully formed police department." He said he believed the detective's supervisors let them down.
Judge Brenda Kennedy told legal teams to submit their memorandums by Halloween. She will issue a ruling on November 9 after giving each side 10 to 15 minutes to summarize their arguments.
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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.
Further investigation revealed Armstrong had dated star cyclist Colin Strickland for a few years. Last year, Strickland was romantically involved with Wilson while Strickland and Armstrong were on a brief break.
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.
FOX News contributed to this report.