Lawyers for the Texas yoga teacher accused of murdering a romantic rival say evidence in the case against her should be tossed because she was not read her rights when first questioned by police.
Kaitlin Armstrong was interrogated and released by Austin police on May 12, a day after her Jeep was seen at the home where professional cyclist Mariah “Mo” Wilson, 25, was found shot to death.
Armstrong then went on the lam for 43 days before being arrested in Costa Rica, where she was recovering from cosmetic surgery.
The 34-year-old murder suspect asked to leave her May interrogation five times before her request was granted by a cop who believed her arrest warrant was invalid because the document and the department’s system had differing date of birth’s for the murder suspect, authorities told Fox News.
In a motion for an evidentiary hearing filed Wednesday, defense lawyer Rick Cofer argued that cops also never read Armstrong her Miranda rights. As a result, the lawyer said prosecutors must suppress evidence improperly gathered against his client, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Cofer’s motion reportedly includes a transcribed interview with Armstrong’s boyfriend Colin Strickland, 35, where he told detectives that his girlfriend was unhappy about a fling he had with Wilson when he was separated from Armstrong.
“Kaitlin did call her and pretty much just said, ‘Hey, do you know that I pretty much live at Colin’s house’ — or I don’t know exactly what was … I didn’t really dive in,” the interview transcript from Strickland reportedly said. “But I do know she called her, and Mo was like, ‘That was really weird.’”
On May 14, a tipster told police that Armstrong told them she was so angry about Wilson’s fling with Strickland that she wanted to kill her, authorities said. Cofer claims that police never determined that the caller was credible.
“The caller’s connection to or involvement in the killing of Ms. Wilson is currently unknown,” the lawyer wrote in the motion, according to the newspaper.
He also reportedly claimed that “the affidavit completely mischaracterized and falsely stated Mr. Strickland’s words to fabricate a theory of jealousy as a presumed motive for the murder,” adding that the boyfriend told police directly he didn’t think Armstrong was the killer.
“Do I think Kaitlin could kill somebody? No, I don’t,” a transcript from an interview with Strickland reportedly read. She never mentioned wanting to physically hurt Mo. … I don’t believe in any way she’s capable of that.”
After being released by police, Armstrong flew to New York City and fled upstate before using a fake passport to fly from Newark to Costa Rica, where she stayed at hostels and taught yoga classes before her arrest nearly six weeks later.
When Armstrong was picked up by US Marshalls in Santa Teresa Beach she had a bandage over her nose and bruises on her eyes, and was in possession of a $6,350 receipt for cosmetic surgery, according to sources and witnesses.
Police said she had shot Wilson dead after following Strickland when he had snuck off to see her. The murder weapon was a gun Strickland had bought for Armstrong to use, he told officials.
Armstrong had been shooting the gun at a range before the murder and had access to nearly a half million dollars before she fled Austin, police said.
She has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges.