Kaitlyn Armstrong has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for the murder of famous cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson
AUSTIN, Texas – Former fugitive Kaitlyn Armstrong He was sentenced to 90 years in prison He is behind bars on Friday accused of killing professional cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson out of jealousy.
The same Travis County commission that found Armstrong guilty in the first degree Murder on Thursday They deliberated for another three hours on Friday before recommending a prison sentence, which Judge Brenda Kennedy accepted.
The defendant’s sister, Christy Armstrong, wept after the penalty phase verdict was delivered by a panel of 12 jurors and two alternates. The group of 14 consists of nine women and five men.
Armstrong, 35, was facing between five and 99 years behind bars May 11, 2022, murder. The prosecution had requested imprisonment for a period of no less than 40 years.
The lengthy sentence did little to ease the pain of Wilson’s loved ones.
“Other than the prosecution team, there are really no winners here,” the victim’s father, Eric Wilson, said outside court. “This is not a time to celebrate but a time to pray, a time to pray for our family and their friends and the Armstrong family and their friends.”
Defense attorney Rick Cofer thanked the jury in a written statement after the sentencing and said Wilson’s death was a tragedy.
“The loss of Moriah Wilson is a tragedy, and our thoughts are with the Wilson family and the family of our client Kaitlyn Armstrong,” Cofer said in the statement.
Armstrong could have left the ruling entirely in the hands of the judge.
Instead, jurors chose to make a sentencing recommendation, prompting her to testify in the penalty phase on Thursday shortly after the verdict was read.
Caitlin Cash, Wilson’s friend who discovered the body, addressed the court and Armstrong after the jury returned on Friday, recalling her hours-long interview with police on the night of the murder.
Cash vividly remembered washing her bloody hands, and immediately regretted the routine, as it was the last piece of her friend she could touch.
“Kaitlyn, I want you to know that I fought for Mo,” Cash said.
Armstrong’s father, sister and spiritual advisor testified to the character of the perpetrator on Thursday.
“The punishment is much less clear-cut” than their conviction 24 hours earlier, Cofer told jurors on Friday.
“Two families are devastated and grieving in very different ways. Kaitlyn has no prior criminal history,” Cofer said.
Wilson’s loved ones told the court of the intense grief they have experienced since the 25-year-old elite cyclist was shot dead by Armstrong, who viewed her as a romantic rival.
“She (Armstrong) put everyone in danger,” Travis County Assistant Prosecutor Ricky Jones told jurors Friday. It was selfish. Completely selfish. think about it.”
The prosecutor asked panelists to “reflect on those 16 months” that Wilson’s loved ones have endured since the athlete’s murder.
The victim had come to Austin in May 2022 to participate in a bike race in Hico, southwest of Fort Worth.
While in town, he was Armstrong’s friend and professional Cyclist Colin Strickland — who had a brief relationship with Wilson in fall 2021 — texted her to meet up.
Hours before she was killed, Wilson swam with Strickland at a local pool and had dinner together, prosecutors said. A police affidavit said Strickland lied to Armstrong about his whereabouts that evening.
Strickland and Armstrong lived together so she had access to his messages on a laptop at their home, according to prosecutors.
Armstrong then tracked Wilson’s movements on the exercise app Strava and cell phone and GPS data placed the attacker near the crime scene.
Investigators said that after killing Wilson, Armstrong fled to Costa Rica, underwent a plastic surgery on her nose, changed her hairstyle and color, and tried to establish a new life as a yoga instructor before she was arrested.
“This was not a temporary measure, she was a thinking person who had time to calculate and reflect on what she was about to do,” ADA Guillermo Gonzalez told jurors Friday. “It’s all because of her, because of her actions.” “.
Austin’s Rebecca Glaser and David K. Lee is from New York City.
revision (November 17, 2023, 7:10 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated the detail of the panel that issued the ruling. The group was made up of nine women and five men, not nine men and five women.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com