Lifetime’s Yoga Teacher Killer: Kaitlin Armstrong’s True Story, Explained

Directed by Katie Boland, ‘Yoga Teacher Killer: The Kaitlin Armstrong Story’ is a Lifetime thriller that revolves around a love triangle leading to a deadly shooting and an international manhunt. Texan yoga teacher Kaitlin Armstrong shares a turbulent relationship with professional cyclist Colin Strickland but grows very attached to him. When Strickland starts getting close to fellow pro-cyclist Moriah Wilson, jealousy begins to gnaw at Kaitlin. Even after the on-and-off couple settles into a stable relationship, the yoga teacher can’t help but suspect that Strickland is involved with Moriah.

When Kaitlin’s suspicions turn out to be true, she confronts Moriah and guns her down in a fit of jealousy-fueled rage. As investigators begin to close in on the murderous yoga teacher, she takes extreme measures to escape justice and fool the authorities. With its dramatic plot of a love triangle, jealousy, murder, and a fugitive on the run, the movie’s gripping narrative merits a deeper dive into the actual case on which it is based.

Yoga Teacher Killer: A Deadly Love Triangle

Kaitlin Armstrong is a former yoga teacher who was convicted of shooting and killing professional cyclist Moriah Wilson in Austin, Texas, over her boyfriend’s involvement with her. The Lifetime movie written by Katie Boland and John Doolan chronicles the events leading up to the shooting, as well as Armstrong’s attempts at throwing investigators off her trail. Colin Strickland and Kaitlin Armstrong began dating in 2019 but broke up 2 years later in 2021. After the separation, Strickland met cyclist Moriah Wilson on a race circuit and became romantically involved with her. However, only a few months after dating Wilson, Strickland reconciled with Armstrong, and they began working on their relationship.

Armstrong knew of her partner’s time with Wilson and warned her to stop seeing him before deleting her number from his phone. Unbeknownst to her, Strickland deleted all their chats, saved her number under a different name, and continued to stay in touch with her. According to mutual friends, Strickland and Wilson would often meet and be intimate with each other in a way that suggested their relationship was more than platonic. Armstrong and Strickland had reportedly been going strong together after patching up, making joint investments and future plans. During this time, the professional cyclist even gifted her with a handgun to protect herself.

But the two seemingly went on a break in 2022, and Armstrong grew suspicious of her boyfriend’s ties with his ex-girlfriend. She thought up a means to catch them in the act and used the fitness mobile app Strava to track Wilson using the GPS data connected to its bikes. The yoga teacher also visited a firing range with her sister to practice shooting the SIG Sauer P365 handgun gifted to her by Strickland. According to police reports, on May 11, 2022, when Wilson was in Austin for a bike race, she met Strickland, who dropped her off at her friend’s house after spending time together.

At the same time, Armstrong had stalked them for hours, and shortly after Strickland left, her SUV was seen arriving at the house. A neighbor’s camera captured the sound of Wilson screaming before three gunshots were heard. When the police brought Armstrong in for questioning based on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for theft, she wasn’t initially a suspect since the relation between her and the victim hadn’t been established. She was asked about why her SUV was parked outside the house at the time of the crime. Skirting the questions, she insisted on leaving and had to be released because of a technicality: her date of birth and the one on the arrest warrant did not match.

After further leads were gained and the connection between Armstrong and Wilson was unearthed, the police issued a warrant for her arrest on May 17, 2022. However, the yoga instructor was long gone by then. The day after her interview with the officers, she sold her SUV for $12,000 to CarMax Austin South dealership and flew to New York via Houston, where her sister lived. Then, on May 18, she boarded an evening flight to San Jose, Costa Rica, using a ticket purchased under her sister’s name. Two days later, the US Marshals joined the search when Austin police asked for federal assistance.

The investigators tracked Armstrong down to the small town of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, where she was living in Don Jon’s hotel under the name Allison Page. She had cropped her hair and dyed it lighter and had even spent $6,000 on facial plastic surgery to make herself unrecognizable. “Initially, it did not appear to be her, but as I got closer, I realized it was her,” said US Marshal Officer Emir Perez in a statement to the jury. “It appeared she had a bandage on her nose, and her lips were a bit swollen. Her hair was a little bit lighter.” She was apprehended on June 29, 2022.

A Botched Escape Attempt Before Being Proven Guilty

Armstrong was extradited to Texas and pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge. Her court proceedings stretched over a year before she attempted to escape on October 11, 2023, while being taken out for a medical check three weeks before her trial. A mile-long foot chase ensued before the 35-year-old was captured while trying to climb a six-foot wall. On November 16, 2023, Armstrong was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to 90 years in jail with eligibility for parole after 30 years. She appealed the decision, but experts doubt that it will have any chance of reducing her sentence.

‘Yoga Teacher Killer: The Kaitlin Armstrong Story’ brings the case of Kaitlin Armstrong to light in a largely authentic manner. Besides featuring actors who closely resemble the real people they portray, the narrative follows a verifiable sequence of events while taking creative liberties to invent interactions between the characters based on their study of the actual people behind them. The Lifetime film serves as a stark reminder of the destructive power of jealousy and the lengths some will go to when driven by obsession.

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