A famed cyclist at the centre of an alleged love triangle who was with Moriah “Mo” Wilson the night she was killed took the stand in an Austin, Texas courtroom on Friday at the murder trial of his ex-girlfriend Kaitlin Armstrong.
Colin Strickland described his relationship with Ms Armstrong as “tumultuous” and said that they were on and off for a long period of time.
“I wasn’t sure we were compatible as long-term, life partners,” Mr Strickland told the court, per NewsNation.
But the former yoga teacher who had moved in with him after the 2021 Texas freeze and was staying indefinitely, did not move out during the breakups.
Former yoga teacher Ms Armstrong is accused of gunning down Wilson, a competitive gravel and mountain cyclist, just hours after she had gone swimming with Mr Strickland on the night of 11 May 2022.
Prosecutors have alleged that she targeted Wilson after the two were reportedly involved in a love triangle with Mr Strickland.
He also recounted having fights with Ms Armstrong over fits of jealousy and invasion of his privacy.
While on the stand, Mr Strickland recalled buying two guns with Ms Armstrong because she had been paranoid about road rage incidents, being alone on her bike in the woods and the massive homeless population near their Austin home.
Mr Strickland said that when he told Ms Armstrong that he was meeting a friend in Colorado, she sent him a semi-nude picture of the woman, which she had pulled from his private texts.
He said that he became angry and didn’t trust Ms Armstrong in the aftermath of the incident – but insisted that he and the Colorado woman did not have a romantic or sexual relationship of any kind.
Mr Strickland then met Wilson at a racing event. He described her as the “most exceptional female racer and an obvious immense talent” and wanted to help her in her career.
But the new friendship caused friction between Mr Strickland and Ms Armstrong after she was left out from a bike ride in Arkansas that he said she was not skilled enough to join.
"She was perturbed that I went on that ride with other female cyclists,” he said.
Their relationship ended following that fight, he said, telling the court that “it was extremely clear” they were no longer dating.
Just days after the bike ride, Mr Strickland met up with Wilson after he said she sent him a text letting him know she was in Austin and that she had recently ended her relationship. He said that’s when they became romantic, adding he did not know where Ms Armstrong was at that time.
Mr Stickland then recalled Ms Armstrong calling Wilson and confronting her, which Wilson found to “be strange and unnerving,” he said, adding that they had not met face-to-face at this point.
Over the next few months, Mr Stickland and Wilson had regular conversations but nothing was discussed regarding a more serious relationship.
Meanwhile, Armstrong dated at least two other men while living in a separate bedroom at Mr Strickland’s home, he testified.
He said he asked her to move out, but eventually the two reconciled, became romantic and started dating again.
During that time, Ms Armstrong controlled his passwords, social media accounts, financial accounts and records, he said, admitting that she was “more sophisticated with electronics” than he is.
Mr Strickland said the jealous behaviour continued at racing events they attended. He recalled a time when he posted a video on Instagram of a race finish and Wilson is in the background.
Ms Armstrong responded to the video, writing “send my love to Mo,” he told the court.
“I felt it was extremely passive aggressive at the time,” he said.
The couple’s on-again-off-again relationship pattern continued and in April 2022, Mr Strickland set off on a solo road training tour through California.
He was talking to Wilson at the time, giving her advice and congratulating her on her finishes. They met in Santa Cruz and rode together.
In May 2022, Mr Strickland travelled to Arizona to train, but this time, Armstrong joined him, he told the court.
When they arrived back in Austin on 9 May – two days before Wilson was fatally shot – Mr Strickland said he had no intention of seeing her. However, he did know of her upcoming race happening in Hico, Texas.
Then on May 10, the day before Wilson was killed, she texted him to tell him that she would be in Austin before competing in Hico. Mr Strickland said he responded to Wilson, and suggested a short training ride.
He explained that even though Ms Armstrong knew all his passwords to his phone and social media, he had changed Wilson’s name to “Christine Wall” in order to avoid confrontation.
Mr Strickland then took the court through what he recalls happened on 11 May – the day Wilson was killed – testifying that it began with a three-hour bike ride with a friend and Ms Armstrong. Ms Armstrong turned back after the first half hour he said.
He said he knew Wilson had gone on a solo ride during the day because she had sent him a picture of herself riding and they discussed meeting up after her ride.
“I wanted to greet her in my home city,” Mr Strickland said on the stand.
They made plans via text to meet up later, which Mr Strickland said he never disclosed to Ms Armstrong.
He picked Wilson up from Caitlin Cash’s apartment, where she was staying, and they rode on his motorcycle to Deep Eddy pool, where he said they went for a swim. While on the stand, he was asked to review video surveillance footage that showed the pair sitting at a table at the pool bar at 6:57pm.
Mr Strickland said he then drove her back to Ms Cash’s home, a place he had previously been when he was romantically involved with Wilson months earlier.
He said they hugged and planned to see each other in Hico. He said he watched her go upstairs and that he did not go inside with her.
Mr Strickland added that he did not tell Ms Armstrong that Wilson was even in Austin.
On his way home that night, he said he came up with a story for Ms Armstrong about his whereabouts that evening, texting her that he went to deliver marijuana to a friend in North Austin who needed it for pain.
When he arrived home, Ms Armstrong was not there and had not responded to his text. He texted her about plans for the morning, and still no response.
Mr Strickland then told the court that he remained there for the evening and when she arrived home, he was in the garage working.
When he went inside to pack drinks and snacks for the race that weekend, Ms Armstrong appeared to be calm and collected, he said. They both slept at the house that night.
The following day, Mr Strickland was working on his bike in the garage when he was approached by two detectives who delivered the news about Wilson’s murder.
He said he was “shell-shocked.”
Mr Strickland then went inside to tell Ms Armstrong the news and said that he had been with her the previous night. He said she “seemed shocked” but could not recall what she said.
For the next six and a half hours, he was fully cooperative as he was questioned by police.
Wilson’s bike was found in the middle of bamboo a few yards from the apartment, with DNA “highly likely” to have come from Ms Armstrong, prosecutors said this week.
Ms Armstrong is accused of fleeing the country just three days after the shooting and was on the run for 43 days before being captured and charged with murder.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges. She faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted.