Yoga Teacher Killer: The True Story of Kaitlin Armstrong and Moriah Wilson

Spoilers

The Yoga Teacher Killer: The Kaitlin Armstrong Story premieres on Lifetime on June 15, 2024.

It is the story of a yoga teacher who murdered a professional cyclist in 2022.

Armstrong broke a cardinal rule of yoga, Ahimsa (non-violence), in a way that shocked the Austin, Texas, community where the murder took place. It also stunned the broader communities of yoga practitioners and professional cyclists nationwide.

Who is Kaitlin Armstrong?

Kaitlin Armstrong, played by Caity Lotz in the new Lifetime film, is a convicted murderer. Her crime was particularly shocking because many murderers, such as the Happy Face Killer, are male.

She was convicted of killing professional cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson in a crime of jealousy and passion over a love triangle.

Related: 13 Love Triangles That Left Us Genuinely Torn

The murder took place on May 11, 2022, in Austin, Texas

Before becoming a convicted killer, she was a yoga instructor.

She also held a real estate license and had previously flipped several properties.

The Smiling Face of a Killer

Armstrong, who was born in 1987, had what appears to be a relatively normal upbringing.

She grew up in Livonia, Michigan, which is not far from Detroit.

As a 2005 graduate of Stevenson High School, she didn’t stand out much.

Although she did participate in several sports, including track and field and volleyball.

It isn’t exactly the standard portrait of a killer, which is part of what makes her crime so shocking.

Her hair was her most exciting feature. It got voted the best in the class.

Armstrong Smiles

After graduating high school, the girl with the stand-out hair attended a community college, Schoolcraft.

She later transferred to Eastern Michigan University.

Related: 27 Most Iconic Hairstyles in TV History

Eventually, the Michigan-raised young woman made her way to Texas.

There, she met and fell in love with Colin Strickland, portrayed in the Lifetime film by the real-life husband of Lotz Colin Schmid, a star of the new NCIS spinoff NCIS: Origins.

The two were living together at the time that Armstrong killed Moriah Wilson.

Colin Strickland in Shades

Who Was Moriah “Mo” Wilson?

Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson was a professional cyclist with a particular passion for the off-road trend of gravel racing.

However, that was far from her first passion.

She grew up in Kirby/East Burke, Vermont.

There, she had one specific dream growing up: to become an Olympic skier.

Mo Wilson Smiles

By the time she got to college, she hadn’t achieved that dream yet.

However, she did reach third place nationally in the giant slalom event.

Then, her dream took its first heavy hit when, during her sophomore year of college at Burke Mountain Academy, she tore her ACL.

Related: The True Story Behind Paramount+s The Pillowcase Murders Docuseries

She eventually recovered and joined the Dartmouth Alpine Ski Team, but shortly after that, she tore her ACL again.

That was approximately three years after the first injury.

The second ACL tear led to her eventual switch from skiing to cycling.

Mo Wilson Does an Interview

After taking up cycling professionally, Wilson competed in several different events.

Those competitions took her to various locations around the country.

Wilson’s misfortune was that she met Colin Strickland, also a professional cyclist, at a cycling event in Idaho.

Sometime later, the two reconnected and began what appeared to be a brief physical relationship that only lasted for a week or so while she was visiting Austin.

During that time, Strickland and Armstrong were in the middle of a brief separation. They soon reconciled, but their relationship was rocky, like those of these characters in bad relationships.

Kaitlin Armstrong's Boyfriend Completes Her

What Was Kaitlin Armstrong’s Motive for Murder?

Kaitlin Armstrong’s motive for murder was an age-old one.

She was jealous because Wilson and Strickland had gotten together earlier on the day of the murder.

Related: 31 Friendships That Weren’t Ruined By Love Triangles

Wilson had come to Austin to compete in a race and met up with Strickland.

The two were supposedly only platonic friends after their brief relationship in 2021.

Yet, that turned out to be not entirely the case.

Colin Finishes a Race

Strickland claimed that he didn’t continue sleeping with both women.

Instead, he got serious about his relationship with Armstrong.

The two moved in together and also started a business.

According to Outside Magazine, they worked together restoring and selling Spartan trailers.

They seemed like a committed couple with a solid partnership to outsiders looking at their relationship.

However, several of their close friends have said their relationship seemed rocky.

Mo Wilson Looking Focused

The situation wasn’t helped by Strickland being evasive and keeping secrets from Armstrong.

He hid any information that would point to Wilson from Armstrong for ages.

For example, Wilson’s contact information was saved under a false name in his phone contact list.

Related: 27 Characters Who Have a Secret and Can Keep It

Strickland even admitted to police that he had deleted Wilson’s texts to conceal that the two had been talking from Armstrong.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the concealment didn’t work. Armstrong discovered the two’s continued relationship, and the plot for the next Lifetime true crime movie was set in motion.

Whether their relationship was platonic or not, Armstrong was infuriated to learn that they were still speaking to each other.

Cops Discuss the SUV

How Did the Murder of Moriah Wilson Occur?

On the day of the murder, Mo Wilson happened to be visiting Austin to participate in a race.

When Strickland was interviewed by police the day after the murder, he said he hung out with Wilson before she was murdered.

Later, during Armstrong’s trial, Strickland testified regarding Armstrong’s dislike of Wilson.

He said Armstrong had confronted Wilson about her brief relationship with Strickland before Strickland and Armstrong even got back together.

When Wilson returned to town in 2022 for a bike race, Armstrong discovered that Strickland had planned to show her around town.

She followed the pair for some portion of the day, including when the pair went swimming and later got food before Strickland dropped Wilson back off at her friend’s house.

Caitlin Cash's Neighbor

Interestingly, Wilson’s murderer was Kaitlin Armstrong, but the friend she was staying with was also a Kaitlin of sorts, except spelled with a “C.”

Her name was Caitlin Cash, and she discovered Wilson’s body after the murder.

A series of gunshots killed Wilson.

Related: Based on a True Story: The Best TV Created from Real-LIfe Events

She received two to the head and a later one to the chest, which created the perfect situation for true crime movie coverage.

When police investigated, they quickly discovered images of Armstrong’s black Jeep Grand Cherokee, which she sold soon after the murder, parked in front of the house right before the killing occurred.

They also later found the murder weapon in Kaitlin Armstrong’s home.

Kaitlin Armstrong's Black SUV

How Did Kaitlin Armstrong  Avoid Capture?

Soon after the murder, police found her but were not prepared to arrest her for murder on the spot.

Instead, they arrested her because she had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant from a 2018 incident in which she had a Botox procedure and did not pay her bill.

While she was in custody, they were able to sit down with her to perform an interrogation regarding Wilson’s murder, but they didn’t get very far.

She stayed quiet as the interview started, and when the questioning turned to her car being spotted in the vicinity at the time of the murder, she ended the interview.

Like these characters who look good in orange, she should have been booked on the misdemeanor charge that day. However, a clerical error involving her birth date not matching the date on file led to her release, and she soon vanished.

Kaitlin Armstrong's Mugshot

Between the time of that questioning on May 12, 2022, and the time when an official murder warrant was issued for her on May 17, she fled the area.

She knew she was the primary suspect, so she sold her vehicle the next day.

That sale provided her with $12,200, which she used to slip through the authorities’ fingers yet again.

Related: Under the Bridge: The True Story Behind the Murder of Reena Virk

The following day, May 14, she flew to New York, presumably to see her sister, Christine, who lived there.

Witnesses reported that she had stayed at the campground just before the search for her kicked into full swing.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla Updates Press

After a brief stay in New York, Armstrong traveled to Costa Rica, where she avoided capture for more than a month.

Mo Wilson lost her life far too soon, like the lives of these TV characters whose storylines were cut short, and it looked like her family might never have justice.

But Armstrong’s love of yoga eventually led to her capture.

She had been learning new yoga techniques in Costa Rica and looking to get back into being an instructor.

According to multiple news outlets, including CBS News, she was captured on June 22, 2022, when she responded to an ad for a yoga instructor placed by U.S. Marshals.

Deputy U.S. Marshals Emir Perez and Damien Fernandez went to Santa Teresa, a small Costa Rican town, where tipsters said Armstrong had been spotted. They placed several such ads to draw her out.

Kaitlin Armstrong is Apprehended

How Did the Kaitlin Armstrong Yoga Teacher Killer Trial Play Out, and What Was the Verdict?

After her capture, Kaitlin Armstrong was quickly transported back to Austin, Texas, but that wasn’t the end of her escape attempts.

She had a bit of a wait between her June capture and the November court trial.

Related: 21 True Crime Shows You Shouldn’t Watch Alone

Armstrong had to be transferred to a doctor’s appointment during that time.

Another escape attempt occurred while that transfer took place, but she was recaptured almost immediately.

She had planned that final escape attempt, even faking a leg injury so she could get transferred to a medical facility.

Kaitlin Armstrong Prepares to Kill

Information about her attempts to flee was allowed to be presented at her trial, which did not help her situation.

The trial clearly outlined why Armstrong hated Wilson and how her feelings were far more intense than those of these fictional jealous characters, backing that up with new evidence.

One piece of evidence was cellphone usage history, which showed that Armstrong tracked Wilson’s movements using an app.

The trial resulted in a conviction and a 90-year sentence for Armstrong, who will be eligible for parole in 30 years, but things still didn’t even end there.

Kaitlin Armstrong's Boyfriend is a Gravel Racer

What’s Next for Killer Kaitlin Armstrong?

Kaitlin Armstrong’s lawyers almost immediately appealed the conviction and began fighting for a new trial.

One of their most significant claims was that she may have been pregnant when she fled to Costa Rica.

Related: 21 Hilarious Attempts at Hiding Pregnancies on TV

Her attorneys claimed she was but that she miscarried while in custody.

They felt pregnancy could have impacted her state of mind, and that information could have impacted either the verdict of the trial or the sentencing.

According to her lawyers’ claims, Kaitlin’s father suspected she was pregnant before she left Austin, and her sister said she had already miscarried a baby once in the past.

Photographer Christopher Keiser

After the 2023 sentencing, Mo Wilson’s father said that, as a family, they believed justice had been done.

But her friends and family members still feel deep senses of loss.

That’s why it’s no surprise that Mo Wilson’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Kaitlin Armstrong in May 2024.

The family is seeking $1,000,000 in damages.

Mo Wilson in Yellow Rides Her Bike

The possible pregnancy plot twist certainly adds a new and exciting aspect to the case, but it’s unclear whether that aspect will be mentioned in the Lifetime film.

It’s apt to focus more on the murder itself and Armstrong’s escape attempts.

Related: 13 TV Couples That Get Away With Murder (And Other Crimes)

What are your thoughts regarding Kaitlin Armstrong’s sentence and pregnancy-related appeal request?

Would you have gone easier on her if you were a juror and knew she was pregnant?

Comment below and tell us about it.

Jessica Kosinski is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

Articles You May Like

UnPrisoned – Season 2 – Promo
‘America’s Got Talent’: Howie Mandel Makes 14-Year-Old Singer Cry With Golden Buzzer Pick
Those About to Die – Season 1 – Promo
‘Counting On’ Jana Duggar Spotted With Engagement Ring?
Daisy Kent Opens Up About The Time She Almost Died