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Colin Strickland
Photo via Red Bull

Who is pro cyclist Colin Strickland and what happened to him? The Kaitlin Armstrong murder case, explained

In the world of cycling, Colin Strickland had everything going for him until Mo Wilson was murdered.

In 2022, World champion mountain bike gravel racer Colin Strickland‘s former love interest and cycling colleague, Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson, was shot and killed. Strickland’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Kaitlin Armstrong, was convicted of the crime.

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The day Strickland’s life forever changed, Anna Moriah “Mo” Wilson was in his hometown, Austin, Texas, for a race. Strickland was a two-time world champion in gravel racing, with several significant sponsorship deals with brands like Red Bull. Gravel racing is — as the name suggests — a mountain bike racing competition on gravel or unpaved roads.

Wilson, also a competitive cyclist, dated Strickland a year earlier. Strickland and Armstrong were in an off-period at that time. Throughout the ups and downs of their relationship, both Strickland and Armstrong were known to see other people, according to ESPN.

The last day Strickland saw Wilson alive, the two friends had reconnected for dinner and gone swimming. Strickland and Armstrong, meanwhile, had rekindled their relationship. Strickland had not, however, told Armstrong his plans, according to a police affidavit.

In what police call a crime of jealousy, Armstrong tracked Wilson the night she and Strickland saw each other. The prosecution said Armstrong then shot Wilson three times — twice in the heart and then once in the head — killing her, NBC News reports.

Where was Strickland?

According to Daily Mail, Strickland was questioned the day after Wilson’s murder, and he at first lied about knowing her. He then changed his statement. Strickland admitted he’d seen Wilson the night she died, but that nothing romantic happened. But based on a history of jealous behavior, he said he didn’t tell Armstrong where he was, fearing how she might react.

Around 8:30 pm the night Wilson died, Strickland texted Armstrong, letting her know he was on his way home. Wilson last used her phone roughly 45 minutes later, the same time police believe she died. As the murder investigation revealed, Strickland purchased the gun that killed Wilson. Armstrong returned home after Strickland that night and seemed calm, as if nothing had happened.

After Wilson’s death, Strickland disappeared. Authorities searched the area, but Strickland reportedly hid for his safety. A source close to Strickland, identified only as “David,” told Daily Mail, “[Strickland’s] staying out of sight until she’s caught. I do know where he is, but I’m not mentioning where for his safety. He’s not in Texas — he’s got completely out of Dodge.”

Strickland’s statement

via KVUE/YouTube

A few weeks after Wilson’s death, Strickland released a statement to the Austin American-Statesman. In it, he admitted seeing Wilson the night of the murder, but he denied they were romantic. He said he was cooperating with the authorities, adding:

“There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime. I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable situation … It was not my intention to pursue along an auxiliary romantic relationship that would mislead anyone. Moriah and I were both leaders in this lonely, niche sport of cycling and I admired her greatly and considered her a close friend. I am deeply grieving her loss.”

via the Austin American-Statesman

Strickland spoke little about the Wilson case until he took the stand at Kaitlin Armstrong’s 2023 trial. Armstrong pleaded not guilty. Strickland’s cycling career took a hit over the controversy. Several brands dropped sponsorship deals with the star, according to Outside.

Once convicted, Armstrong was sentenced to 90 years in prison for Wilson’s murder. The Strickland-Armstrong case is the subject of a 2024 20/20 episode, Three Shots in the Dark, available to watch now on Hulu.


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Author
Image of William Kennedy
William Kennedy
William Kennedy is a full-time freelance content writer and journalist in Eugene, OR. William covered true crime, among other topics for Grunge.com. He also writes about live music for the Eugene Weekly, where his beat also includes arts and culture, food, and current events. He lives with his wife, daughter, and two cats who all politely accommodate his obsession with Doctor Who and The New Yorker.