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Kaitlin Armstrong pleads not guilty to murder of Moriah Wilson

A Travis County district judge has scheduled the murder trial to begin October 24

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According to Austin, Texas NBC affiliate KXAN, on Wednesday Kaitlin Armstrong pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder in the first degree.

Armstrong, 34, is charged with the murder of professional cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson, who was found shot to death in Austin on May 11.

Armstrong was recently apprehended in Costa Rica on June 29, after spending 43 days on the run. She was returned to Texas on July 3, where according to KXAN, “her lawyers pressed for a quick trial.”

On Wednesday, after Armstrong pled not guilty, District Judge Brenda Kennedy scheduled the trial to start on October 24th.

Armstrong is currently being held on $3.5 million bond and faces up to 99 years in prison if she’s convicted.

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According to KXAN, prosecutors at the hearing questioned whether the quick trial setting amounted to unfair priority as it would move Armstrong’s case to the front of a long line of murder trials that have been delayed due to the pandemic. They also noted that investigators are still gathering evidence that prosecutors and defense attorneys have yet to receive.

“If they chose to indict without evidence, that’s the district attorney’s problem,” Armstrong’s attorney, Rick Cofer, told District Judge Kennedy according to the news report. The judge then granted the request to set a trial date and scheduled it to begin Oct. 24.

After the brief hearing, Cofer suggested that Armstrong’s defense will challenge the evidence gathering and conduct by Austin police investigators, and whether they didn’t follow leads that could have led to a different suspect.

“Ms. Armstrong wants her day in court,” Cofer said, without taking questions. “Simply put, there is a lot more to this story that has yet been heard.”

A warrant was issued for Armstrong’s arrest on May 19. Days before, police had interviewed her partner, professional cyclist Colin Strickland, and obtained a warrant to search the home that they both shared. Armstrong had an outstanding warrant in Travis County for failure to pay for Botox, and police brought her in for questioning based on that warrant.

She was ultimately let go due to a database discrepancy; however a police affidavit revealed that she behaved strangely when told ‘it didn’t look good’ that her car was seen on video surveillance at the crime scene.

The same affidavit included notes from a lengthy interview with Strickland, who revealed that Armstrong had expressed jealousy towards Wilson, with whom he claimed to have a short relationship during a breakup with Armstrong.

In the affidavit, Strickland admitted to lying to Armstrong about his whereabouts the evening of Wilson’s murder. According to the affidavit, Strickland took Wilson swimming and to dinner before returning her to her friend’s apartment in Austin. Armstrong’s car was spotted on video surveillance just minutes after Strickland dropped Wilson off.

After a 43-day manhunt led by the U.S. Marshal’s, it was revealed that Armstrong fled the United States on May 18 using someone else’s passport. She was apprehended by local authorities in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica on June 29.