Kaitlin Armstrong murder trial postponed as judge considers defense team’s motions to suppress evidence
The judge presiding over the upcoming murder trial of Kaitlin Armstrong, charged in connection with the shooting death of cyclist Moriah Wilson, is expected to release her decision on November 9 on two motions to suppress evidence filed by Armstrong’s defense team .
Armstrong’s trial was scheduled to begin in October but was delayed pending Judge Brenda Kennedy’s decision on the two motions.
Armstrong has been formally charged with first-degree murder in connection with Wilson’s death at an East Austin, Texas home on May 11. She is currently being held at Travis County Jail in Austin, with bond set at $3.5 million. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During a multi-day preliminary hearing Oct. 19 in Travis County court, Armstrong’s defense team asked Judge Brenda Kennedy to dismiss some of the evidence authorities obtained during their investigation into the case.
Armstrong’s defense team filed a Frank hearing and motion to suppress evidence that challenges the veracity of information the detectives presented in their written affidavit to support the search and arrest warrants during their initial investigation.
Rick Cofer, Armstrong’s defense attorney, previously alleged that the investigation and affidavit used to support Armstrong’s arrest warrant contained “errors of fact”, “errors of attribution” and “incorrect assertions”.
Prosecutors acknowledged errors in the original affidavit but suggested the errors were not a reckless disregard for the truth, according to a published report KXAN briefing.
Additionally, the defense team argued the legality of Armstrong’s questioning by authorities on May 12 when she was brought in with an outstanding Class B warrant for her arrest which related to an unrelated incident. Around this time, she was briefly detained and questioned by authorities about Wilson’s death.
Armstrong’s defense team argued that the detective-led interview was an ‘unlawful interrogation’ because the Class B warrant was unrelated to the murder investigation and the detective Armstrong had not fully read his Miranda rights during this interrogation.
Armstrong was released due to a birth date discrepancy in records and the Class B warrant.
State prosecutors argued that the detective told Armstrong she was free to go five times.
In their previous investigation, authorities discovered, with the help of the US Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, that Armstrong sold his black jeep for $12,200 on May 13. Investigators believe the black jeep “appeared to be the same vehicle seen in surveillance footage” outside the crime scene at the East Austin home on May 11.
Investigators believe that on May 14, after selling his black jeep, Armstrong then departed from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, through Houston Hobby Airport, to LaGuardia Airport in New York.
Authorities said on May 18 that Armstrong fraudulently used another person’s passport to flee the United States from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to San Jose, Costa Rica.
After a 43-day fugitive hunt, Armstrong was located and apprehended on June 29 at a hostel on Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica, then returned to the United States on July 2.
She was formally charged with felony first-degree murder at Travis County Jail, where she was transferred on July 5 and awaited the start of a jury trial.
Judge Brenda Kennedy has asked that legal teams file memoranda by the end of October. After giving each side 10 to 15 minutes to summarize their arguments, she would issue a decision on November 9.
Cycling news pieced together a timeline of how authorities believe this crime may have unfolded, based on legal documents. Cycling news will provide additional updates as more information from authorities becomes available.