Kaitlin Armstrong murder trial: A look back at week 1

After two days of jury selection, the Kaitlin Armstrong murder trial began in earnest on Wednesday with opening statements.

"The last thing Mo did on this earth was scream in terror," the State told the jury in opening statements. "You will hear those screams."

Mo was the nickname of 25-year-old pro cyclist Moriah Wilson, who was found shot to death inside an East Austin home in May 2022.

"You're gonna hear that they swabbed DNA on Mo Wilson's bike," the State said. "A very strong likelihood that the DNA on the handlebars included DNA from Kaitlin Armstrong."

Crime scene specialists and APD detectives testified Thursday about that bike, which was found dumped in some bushes near the home, as well as photos of blood spatters and bullet casings found at the scene. The defense questioned that evidence, arguing it does not put the guanin Armstrong's hands.

"Not one witness saw Kaitlin Armstrong allegedly commit this crime," defense attorneys told the jury. "Not one, because there isn't one."

Several witnesses took the stand this week, including Moriah Wilson's brother Matt, and her friend Caitlin Cash. It was Cash's apartment where Wilson was found covered in blood the night of May 11, 2022.

Cash said the last text she received from Wilson was around 5 p.m., saying "I think I'm going to go swimming with Colin."

"Colin" is Colin Strickland, the apparent link between Armstrong and Wilson, who testified Friday.

Strickland said he and Armstrong had dated on-and-off for years. During a break in 2021, he was romantically involved with Wilson, but afterward they were just friends.

On May 11, he says he picked Wilson up, they went swimming and got dinner. Then he dropped her back off at Cash's place. Strickland said he lied to Armstrong about hanging out with Wilson because Armstrong had previously confronted him.

He noted he was unable to reach Armstrong during the time the murder happened, but that she eventually came home in her black Jeep, which prosecutors claim was seen on camera near the crime scene. The defense argues that claim is quite a leap.

"That's why we're here," defense attorneys said to the jury. "Reasonable doubt."


It remains to be seen whether the defense will try to present an alternative theory of the crime. If Armstrong didn't kill Wilson, who did?

Austin-based defense attorney Rick Flores says not doing that could be risky.

"The defense doesn't really have to present any sort of theory or evidence," Flores said. "If they wanted to, they could just sit there and let the prosecution present all of the evidence. But in a case like this, the jury is certainly going to be wanting an explanation of why those things happened."

The defense will begin calling witnesses next week.

Stay with FOX 7 Austin on air and online as the trial continues.