AUSTIN, Texas - A lot has happened in the Kaitlin Armstrong trial over the past two weeks, including six days of testimony. Prosecutors are attempting to paint the picture of a jealous girlfriend and the defense is trying to cast doubt.
"Unfortunately, someone has lost their life, but in this case, someone's liberty is at stake," Gene Anthes, a criminal defense attorney not involved in the case, said.
Armstrong is accused of killing her perceived romantic-rival, pro-cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson. The two women knew each other through Armstrong’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Colin Strickland. He’s also one of the last people to see Wilson the night of the murder. Strickland took the stand, seemingly reluctantly, and made a scene outside the courtroom when he pushed down a photographer’s camera.
"The jurors aren't going to see that," Anthes said. "They're going to get the majority of their opinion of him from his testimony on the stand, and if the prosecution is doing a good job, they're going to try and prove that he is reliable, and he's telling the truth, and that he had nothing to do with this. But, his demeanor will actually always impact the credibility of his testimony for sure."
Others also took the stand, including Caitlin Cash, who Wilson was staying with in East Austin. She found her in a pool of blood on the night of May 11, 2022.
Armstrong’s friends also testified and said Armstrong did not want anyone else to be with Strickland. When she found out he was hanging out with Wilson, she said she wanted to kill her.
The lead investigator, APD Detective Richard Spitler, also took the stand. This was his first homicide assignment. The defense capitalized on that, casting doubt on his qualifications and investigative process.
"It's very important that we point out all the possible places that they could have made some kind of error," Anthes said. "The question is whether a jury is going to believe that completely undermines all the investigation, and with the amount of evidence that I've heard and seen, it seems like they've got a tough, tough nut to crack there."
The defense is emphasizing that no direct evidence had been found to connect Armstrong to the crime.
"Anytime you've got a circumstantial case, the prosecutors tend to overwhelm the jury with that circumstantial evidence," Anthes said.
- Vehicle tracked to murder scene
- Jurors shown full APD interview with Armstrong before she was released
- Defense asks judge to call a mistrial in day 5
- Five hours of Colin Strickland testimony on day 4
- A look back at week 1
The evidence prosecutors presented was surveillance footage captured by a neighbor, where you can hear screams, then three gun shots. A GPS tracking system in Armstrong’s vehicle placed it near the crime scene, and when Armstrong was arrested after hiding out in Costa Rica, authorities found a receipt for cosmetic surgery under a different name, her sister’s passport stamped on May 18, and Armstrong’s passport with no stamp.
"The burden of proof is on the prosecutors," Anthes said. "They've got to prove that case beyond reasonable doubt."
Court starts back up on Monday, Nov. 13.