Attorneys for a Texas woman who allegedly fled to Costa Rica after fatally shooting her boyfriend’s love interest in May have asked the court to suppress various pieces of evidence for her upcoming murder trial.
During a pre-trial hearing which began last Wednesday, Kaitlin Armstrong’s legal team claimed Austin police and detective Richard Spitler used reckless disregard of the truth to obtain an arrest warrant. If District Judge Brenda Kennedy sides with the defense, evidence — including the initial interview between Armstrong, 34, and homicide detective Katy Conner — will not be presented at trial, according to KXAN.
On May 11, Armstrong allegedly shot and killed professional cyclist Moriah Wilson, 24, who was staying at a friend’s apartment in Austin at the time. Armstrong is believed to have killed Wilson upon learning she slept with her boyfriend, Colin Strickland, who lied to Armstrong when he went swimming and out to dinner with Wilson on the day she was killed.
He also disguised her name in his phone to keep Armstrong from knowing he was communicating with her.
During the May 14 interrogation, police reportedly showed Armstrong footage of her car outside of the apartment where Wilson was found dead. The same day, Armstrong allegedly flew out of Austin and boarded a connecting flight to New York LaGuardia Airport.
According to reports, someone drove Armstrong to an airport in Newark, New Jersey, on May 18 — a day after a warrant was issued for her arrest. However, investigators found no outbound flight reservations listed under her name at the time.
Authorities believe Armstrong used a fraudulent passport to flee the country and cut and dyed her hair to evade detection. However, defense attorney Rick Cofer claimed Armstrong went to Costa Rica because she was shaken by the series of events, including alleged vandalism that occurred at her home on May 13.
Prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez said there were issues with the original probable cause affidavit but were not tantamount to a reckless disregard of the truth. They also noted that during the 10 minutes of the recorded interview, Conner was heard telling Armstrong she was free to leave 20 times.
KXAN reported that Armstrong also was recorded saying, “I feel like I should have an attorney” — something the defense’s expert opined should have immediately halted the interrogation.
Judge Kennedy will rule on the matter on November 9.
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[Featured image: Kaitlin Armstrong/U.S. Marshals, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and the Austin Police Department]