AUSTIN, Texas - Kaitlin Armstrong has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for murdering Anna Moriah Wilson back in May 2022.
In his speech to jurors ahead of sentencing, state prosecutor Rickey Jones focused on Wilson’s 25 years of life, calling her a prodigy.
"We've probably said the defendant, Kaitlin Armstrong, a thousand times," said Jones. "I want today to be about Mo Wilson."
Wilson’s friend, Caitlin Cash, found Wilson on the floor of her bathroom in her East Austin apartment the night of May 11. She still lives in that apartment.
"For 555 days and 16 months, she's lived in terror and in fear," said Jones. "Home for her is a living hell."
The defense did not ask for a specific number of years on Armstrong’s behalf.
"Most sentences are not for life without the possibility of parole. The fact that there is an end date to a sentence is an implicit acknowledgment that, as a society, we at least see a possibility of redemption, because growth can't happen without the necessary ingredients of redemption and forgiveness and self-forgiveness," said Rick Cofer, defense attorney. "If we're not allowed at least the opportunity to atone for our sins, then we cannot grow as a society."
"I heard what Mr. Cofer said, and you know what? I may agree with a lot of what he said, but one thing that I do want you to do is think about and to factor into it here is that accountability for your actions is just as important as redemption and forgiveness," said State prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez. "And I submit to you that without accountability, there cannot be redemption and forgiveness."
Both state prosecutors noted Armstrong’s method of murder and her choices in the days following.
"This is a person who had time to think and meditate and calculate about her actions and certainly the consequences of her actions," said Gonzalez. "She then, after committing this murder, thought about, planned out and acted out how to get away with it, how to avoid the consequences."
MORIAH WILSON'S FAMILY SPEAKS
Anna Moriah Wilson’s family spoke directly to Armstrong, who was convicted of her murder.
A jury convicted Armstrong of murder on Thursday, Nov. 16, and she learned her sentence on Friday, Nov. 17.
Wilson’s family said no one won in this situation, both families were hurt.
"This court hereby sentences you to 90 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a $10,000 fine," Judge Brenda Kennedy said.
Armstrong shot and killed Wilson while she was staying at a friend’s house in Austin in May 2022.
"When you shot Moriah in the heart, you shot me in my heart," Moriah Wilson’s mother, Karen Wilson said.
"I'm angry at you, at the utter tragic nature, at the senselessness, at not being able to hear Mo's voice again," Moriah Wilson’s friend, Caitlin Cash said.
They said it was because of hatred and jealousy. Armstrong was upset Wilson was hanging out with her on and off boyfriend, Colin Strickland.
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"It was cowardly because you never chose to face her woman to woman in a civil conversation. She would have listened, she was an amazing listener, she would have cared about your feelings, she was a caring, empathetic person. If you allowed yourself to actually get to know her, you never, ever would have wanted to hurt her," Karen Wilson said.
Wilson was a pro-cyclist, and her family and friends described her as strong, determined, gentle, and kind.
"I'll forever be honored to have known her, to have hold her as a close friend, both in life and in death, and I'll have to continue seeking out ways to honor her legacy," Cash said.
The Wilson family established a foundation in her honor to promote healthy living and community by supporting organizations dedicated to recreation, sports, and educational programs.
Armstrong maintains her innocence.
"I prayed for your healing. The only way that you can begin, is to admit your guilt, own your actions, and seek forgiveness," Karen Wilson said.
Armstrong will be eligible for parole after serving at least 30 years.