(AUSTIN, Texas) — Kaitlin Armstrong has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for the murder of professional cyclist Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson.
The jury deliberated for several hours on Friday before reaching the sentencing decision, which also included a $10,000 fine.
The sentencing came a day after a jury found her guilty of first-degree murder after deliberating for fewer than three hours.
Wilson, 25, a rising gravel racer, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds at a friend’s home in Austin, Texas, on May 11, 2022, in what police said at the time appeared to be a targeted homicide.
Armstrong, 35, a Texas yoga instructor, was arrested in Costa Rica following a 43-day manhunt and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Wilson’s death.
Wilson was at one time romantically linked to Armstrong’s then-boyfriend — Colin Strickland, a fellow professional cyclist — and was found shot hours after meeting up with him in Austin, police said.
“She accomplished a lifetime of achievements in 25 years and then was taken away from us,” Travis County prosecutor Rick Jones said prior to the sentencing.
Armstrong faced a sentence of five to 99 years in prison or life in prison.
Prosecutors asked the jury to consider in their sentencing decision the “calculated” nature of the shooting and Armstrong’s attempt to flee, as well as the traumatic impact of the murder on Wilson’s family and friend, Caitlin Cash, who found Wilson bleeding on the floor of her home.
State attorney Guillermo Gonzalez asked that the jurors start at a minimum of 40 years in prison and “go forward from there and decide what is appropriate.”
The defense had no recommendation for the sentence.
During the two-day sentencing hearing, the court heard from members of Wilson’s grief-stricken family.
Her mother, Karen Wilson, said her daughter was destined to “live and move and shine and listen and laugh and be such a unique person.”
Her brother, Matthew Wilson, said his sister was his “closest confidant.”
“My sister had her life taken from her for no reason at all,” he said.
The defense also presented witnesses, including Armstrong’s father and sister, prior to the sentencing.
Her father, Mike Armstrong, described his daughter as “strong” and “someone who doesn’t get flustered by things.” He gave his condolences to the Wilson family, saying, “I know what we are going through is terrible, but what they are is worse.”
During the weekslong trial, prosecutors presented video, cellphone, ballistic and DNA evidence they said proves Armstrong killed Wilson. They said Armstrong had access to her boyfriend’s emails and text messages with Wilson, and that she was able to track Wilson’s location through a fitness app. A DNA expert also testified that there’s “very strong support” — the highest qualifying category — that Armstrong’s DNA was retrieved from Wilson’s bicycle, which was found outside the friend’s residence.
Prosecutors also presented evidence that they said showed Armstrong’s 2012 Jeep Cherokee circling the residence’s block the night of the homicide and that her firearm was used in the homicide.
“Only Kaitlin Armstrong, the defendant, fits these facts that [were] presented to you through that witness chair,” Jones told the jurors during closing statements Thursday.
The defense said Armstrong was “trapped in a nightmare of circumstantial evidence.”
Defense attorney Rick Cofer said police narrowed in on Armstrong to fit an easy narrative of a “spurned, jealous lover” and didn’t investigate other potential suspects in the case.
Armstrong, who had pleaded not guilty, declined to testify in her own defense.
A day after being interviewed by police about Wilson’s murder, prosecutors say Armstrong sold her Jeep and later fled to Costa Rica.
She was arrested in June 2022 at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas following a 43-day search. Jones said that days before her arrest, Armstrong spent $6,425 on plastic surgery.
Armstrong was also accused of attempting to escape from custody prior to the start of the trial.
She was charged with escape causing bodily injury — a felony — after the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said she briefly evaded two corrections officers while being transported to an off-site medical appointment on Oct. 11.
ABC News’ Keturah Gray and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.
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