On Friday, November 17, the cycling world waited for more than four hours as a Texas jury deliberated Kaitlin Armstrong‘s penalty for the murder of cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson. On Thursday, that same jury delivered its verdict: Armstrong was guilty in the first degree.
Over the past three weeks, Wilson’s loved ones dragged themselves to court day after day, reliving the evening that changed their lives forever. They gave testimonies and heart-breaking impact statements. They were faced time and again with graphic details of the night their beloved daughter, sister and friend was murdered.
As the trial was coming to an end at long last on Friday afternoon, the family addressed the court one last time and also released a public statement to the media.
In the court room, just moments after the Judge Kennedy officially sentenced Armstrong to 90 years in prison, Wilson’s friend Caitlin Cash and mother Karen Wilson got to have the final say, addressing Armstrong directly.
“Kaitlin, I want you to know that I fought for Mo with everything I had that night,” began Cash, who’d been the one to find Wilson’s unconscious body in her bathroom on the evening of the murder.
“I’m angry at you, at the utter tragic nature. At the senselessness. At not being able to hear Mo’s voice again. I feel deep sadness for the road ahead that Mo’s family must continue to walk.
“Even after all of this, I feel hope. I hope that I can live a life that she would be proud of and I will carry her with me each day. I choose light, I choose joy, and I choose Love. And Kaitlin, I really hope you can find that, too.”
Wilson’s mother, Karen Wilson, too expressed anger.
“Kaitlin Armstrong. I’m not sure my words can penetrate your heart, but I’m going to try. I hate what you did to my beautiful daughter. It was very selfish and cowardly.
“It was cowardly because you never chose to face her woman to woman in a civil conversation. She would have listened. She was an amazing listener. She would have cared about your feelings…if you allowed yourself to actually know her, you never, ever would have wanted to hurt her…”
“You ruined your life, your family’s life, our lives, and crushed the lives of many more. When you shot Moriah in the heart, you shot me in my heart. You shot Eric and Matt in the heart..
“I pray for your healing. The only way that can begin is to admit your guilt. Only your actions can seek forgiveness. And not just from us, but most importantly, from your creator.
“There is no winner in this story. Your actions have caused all sides to suffer. There is a ripple effect of sorrow upon sorrow upon sorrow. Moriah is free of this sorrow, though. She is more alive today than any of us here,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Wilson’s family had released a statement to the media in which the family felt justice had been served.
In the statement, first published by Velo, the family thanked the legal team, the jury, the witnesses, the judge who presided and everyone who supported the family through the past 17 months, before delivering a word of caution about honesty, integrity and violence.
“Other than the prosecution team, there really are no winners here. This sad story is a perfect example of why integrity and honesty are crucial in our personal relationships, and how dishonesty can often lead to unintended consequences. Selfish manipulation, jealousy and hatred never lead to good outcomes. Violence is never a good way to solve personal issues, in fact, violence doesn’t solve anything but only leads to more suffering.”
The family states that their lives are forever changed but that they are ready to move forward and continue healing.
Following Wilson’s death in 2022, her family set up a foundation to promote healthy living by supporting organizations dedicated to expanding access to recreation, sports, and educational programs. With “the ordeal” now behind them, they aim to continue the foundation’s work and preserve Wilson’s legacy in that way.
“Moriah inspired everyone who knew her, and we are dedicated to preserving her legacy. She expressed a strong desire to serve others and contribute to her community, which we endeavor to do with the Moriah Wilson Foundation established in her honor.”