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Brittany NORWOOD

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


Lululemon yoga store murder
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Confrontation over stolen merchandise?
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 11, 2011
Date of arrest: 7 days after
Date of birth: 1982
Victim profile: Jayna Murray, 30 (her co-worker)
Method of murder: Bludgeoned, choked and stabbed, using at least five weapons to inflict more than 330 separate wounds
Location: Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on January 26, 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 

(graphic) photo gallery (graphic)

 
 
 
 
 
 

Brittany Norwood receives life, no parole, for killing Jayna Murray in Lululemon yoga store

By Paul Duggan - WashingtonPost.com

January 27, 2012

A Montgomery County judge, his voice rising in anger at times, sentenced Brittany Norwood to life in prison without the chance of parole Friday for the savage killing of co-worker Jayna Murray in a Bethesda yoga store last year.

In the climax to a sensational murder case that rocked Bethesda’s tony downtown retail district, Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg locked eyes on the diminutive, 29-year-old defendant seated before him in a black pantsuit.

“Cold-blooded . . . brutal . . . calculated . . . deliberate . . . devious . . . malicious,” was how the judge described Norwood and the murder she committed in the Lululemon Athletica store. The sentence brought a burst of applause from a courtroom packed with more than 200 people, including relatives of Norwood and Murray.

“Please!” the judge scolded, silencing the crowd.

Norwood, speaking publicly for the first time since the killing, briefly addressed Murray’s family before learning her punishment. “Before I go to prison,” she said, “I needed you to hear how deeply sorry I am."

In an after-hours confrontation apparently sparked by Norwood’s attempt to steal a pair of yoga pants, authorities said, she bludgeoned, choked and stabbed Murray, using at least five weapons to inflict more than 330 separate wounds. Then she gave herself a few minor wounds, bound her own hands and ankles in a restroom, and initially fooled detectives with an elaborate tale about a pair of masked intruders.

Until the coverup unraveled a few days later, police considered Norwood a victim of two killers on the loose, and fear reigned on the upscale streets of Bethesda Row.

“You’re one hell of a liar, ma’am,” Greenberg said Friday, in a tone of contempt.

Norwood and her attorneys had sought of sentence of life with a chance of parole. “I don’t even ask this for myself,” Norwood said as she dabbed tears with a tissue. “I truly ask this for my family, especially my mom and dad.” But the judge was unmoved.

“I have no doubt, Ms. Norwood, that you are a deeply troubled woman,” Greenburg told her. However, “my sympathy for your plight, ma’am, does not begin — does not begin — to approach what I feel for the Murray family.”

With or without parole, he said: “You will live. You will see another sunrise, another sunset. It may be through a prison window. There’ll be Christmases, there’ll be telephone calls, there’ll be visits. The only visits Jayna Murray will have are those to her grave."

In arguing that the prolonged brutality of the killing and the seemingly remorseless coverup attempt made life without parole a fitting punishment for Norwood, State’s Attorney John McCarthy summoned eight of Murray’s relatives and friends to a lectern, where each sadly addressed the judge.

Murray, 30, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, was bright, loving, compassionate, intelligent, adventurous and devoted to her family, they said.

“Of the many stages of grief, I have not moved away from rage,” her father, David Murray, told Greenberg. He recalled leading soldiers in combat as an Army officer and seeing changes in their psyches as they grew accustomed to fighting. “Once bloodied, the second time is easier and probably more likely,” he said of killing. And that would be true of Norwood, he said, if she were someday let out of prison.

Phyllis Murray said her daughter’s death was “a pain that ripped through our bodies. The grief is like a lightning strike. It is so powerful. It is so intense.” She said, “This individual must be removed from society forever.”

As Norwood sat silent and almost motionless at the defendant’s table, her eyes cast downward, one of Murray’s two older brothers, an Army captain in dress uniform, strode to the lectern. “Your honor, I’m Hugh Murray, and I am a victim of murder — my sister Jayna’s murder.” Then, in a halting voice, he read his statement.

“Nothing will ever return to normal,” he said. “Nothing will ever be the same.”

Hugh Murray’s wife, Kate, told Greenberg: “When we do sleep, we as often as not have nightmares about Jayna’s murder.” Of the Murray family, once vibrant and resolutely upbeat, she said: “There is no hope. There is no joy. There is no true laughter.”

Then Murray’s other brother, Dirk Murray, invoked the three Furies of Greek mythology, Dante’s nine circles of hell, and the Old Testament story of Cain and Abel, telling the judge, “I’ve explored all to see what kind of hell awaits Ms. Norwood.”

His wife, April, came next, then Jayna Murray’s longtime boyfriend, Fraser Bocell. “No longer can I look forward to our children, praying they have Jayna’s smile and her indomitable spirit,” Bocell said. One of Murray’s closest friends, Marisa Connaughton, told the judge, “A dark cloud has been cast over my heart."

At Norwood’s trial late last year, there was no dispute over whether she had killed Murray. Defense attorneys sought a verdict of second-degree murder, arguing that the crime was committed in the heat of passion and without premeditation. McCarthy, who prosecuted the case, contended that the killing was intentional and deliberate, and the jury agreed, convicting Norwood of first-degree murder. She was star soccer player in high school and college and had no criminal record before the killing.

On Friday, Norwood showed emotion only after the Murray family was done speaking. She softly cried as one of her brothers, Sandre Norwood, stood at the lectern. “There’s another side to Brittany that was not brought out at the trial,” he said.

“Please, your honor: At least give her some hope,” he said, asking for parole eligibility. “If you leave her with hope, you in turn leave our family with hope."

The sentencing brought to a close one of the most bizarre and high-profile murder cases in Montgomery in years.

To try to conceal her crime, Norwood tracked size-14 sneakers through Murray’s blood to make it appear as if a large man had been there. Then she tied herself up and waited overnight. She was found the next morning, moaning in the restroom. For days, she lied to the police and to her family, weaving the story of the ski-masked attackers. But her account crumbled under the weight of mounting forensic evidence.

Greenberg, who has worked in the Montgomery justice system for decades, said he could recall only two cases “that approach the brutality of this case.”

The savagery of the killing, he said, is “nothing short of astounding to me.”

Staff writer Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

 
 

'I've never seen such a savage killing': Judge sentences woman, 29, to life for stabbing Yoga store colleague 331 times with six different weapons

By Ellen Connolly - DailyMail.co.uk

January 28, 2012

A woman who savagely killed her co-worker in a Lululemon yoga clothing shop, then tried to pretend masked intruders had done it, will spend the rest of her life in jail.

Convicted killer Brittany Norwood, 29, used at least half a dozen weapons from inside the store to kill Jayna Murray, 30, in a 'prolonged and brutal attack' on March 11.

These included a hammer, wrench, knife and peg used to hold up a mannequin.

In sentencing Norwood for life in prison without the possibility of parole, the judge said in all his years on the bench, he had never seen such a savage attack.

He rejected defense pleas that she deserved an eventual shot at rehabilitation and freedom.

'You will live,' said Montgomery Circuit Judge Robert Greenberg.'There’ll be Christmases, there’ll be telephone calls, there’ll be visits. The only visits Jayna Murray will have are those to her grave,' Judge

Earlier, Norwood had pleaded for mercy.

'I don’t even ask this for myself,' Norwood said. 'I truly ask this for my family, especially my mom and dad.'

Norwood said she struggled with what to say to the family of Jayna Murray, the woman she beat and stabbed in the Lululemon Athletica store before staging the crime scene to make it appear masked intruders were the culprits.

She said she could not find the right words 'when your daughter is gone and I’m the one who was convicted of her murder.'

'Before I go to prison I just want to say just how deeply sorry I am,' Norwood said.

Norwood’s steadfast lies — 'coupled with her lack of remorse' — speak to the 'tremendous danger' Norwood would pose if released, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said in a sentencing memo.

Friday’s sentencing hearing brought to a close one of the most bizarre and high-profile murder cases in Montgomery County in years. Norwood, 29, lied to police and her family, saying masked men attacked her and Murray, 30, in the Lululemon store.

She staged a coverup, tracking size 14 sneakers through Murray’s blood to make it appear that a large man had been there, then she tied herself up in the store overnight.

A jury in November convicted Norwood of first-degree murder for bludgeoning and stabbing 30-year-old Jayna Murray, a co-worker at the Lululemon Athletica shop in Bethesda.

Prosecutors said Norwood brutally attacked Murray with at least five weapons, including a knife and a hammer, during a fight on March 11 after they closed the shop for the day.

They said Norwood then doctored the scene to support her story that intruders had attacked and sexually assaulted them.

Murray was found the next morning in a pool of blood at the back of the store, with more than 330 distinct wounds. Norwood was found nearby, tied up, with superficial wounds on her hands and face. Her pants were slit at the crotch.

Norwood's allegations set off panic. Montgomery County police went on a manhunt and fielded hundreds of tips. The store is nestled along a corridor of high-end shops and trendy restaurants in Bethesda, an affluent suburb where violent crime is rare. Some residents and shoppers admitted to feeling anxious at night after Norwood's account of the attack became public.

But the tale unraveled within days as police identified her as their sole suspect. Workers at an adjacent Apple store told police they had heard two women arguing. Investigators found only two sets of footprints in the store. Norwood alleged she was sexually assaulted, but an examination did not back up the claim. And Norwood's DNA was found inside Murray's car. Police arrested Norwood six days after Murray's body was found.

Norwood's lawyers conceded at the outset of the trial that Norwood had killed Murray, but said she had simply 'lost it' in a moment of irrationality and didn't have the required forethought to be convicted of first-degree murder. A jury rejected that argument after about an hour of deliberation, finding her guilty of first-degree murder.

The jury did not hear a motive for the killing, but investigators previously said the women fought after Murray found what she thought was stolen merchandise in Norwood's bag.

 
 

Lululemon victim was alive through most of beating

By Andrea Noble - The Washington Times

October 26, 2011

Jayna Murray was alive when she suffered most of the 322 cuts and blows inflicted on her head and body during a brutal attack at the Bethesda Lululemon Athletica store in March, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Opening arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Brittany Norwood, charged in the horrific killing of her co-worker, provided the most dramatic account yet of a crime that shocked the region for its viciousness and for the twists and turns of an investigation that ultimately revealed a morbidly staged crime scene. They also offered the first indications of how attorneys for the 29-year-old woman accused in the killing plan to defend her.

Holding the bloody rope found around the slain woman’s neck and a merchandise display rod used to bash her skull, State’s Attorney John McCarthy said a blood trail shows how the 30-year-old victim tried unsuccessfully to escape her attacker through a back door. The 107 defensive wounds, caused when Murray tried to fend off the attack, were the most the medical examiner had ever seen on one person, Mr. McCarthy said.

“Think about how long this took. Jayna is alive through almost all of this,” Mr. McCarthy said, describing how eight separate items found in the upscale yoga-inspired apparel store were used as weapons. “The last wounds are from the knives. This was not slow. This was not painless. This woman struggled to survive.”

While attorneys for Miss Norwood hinted in the months before the trial that they might pursue an insanity defense, attorney Douglas Wood acknowledged in his opening statement that his client had attacked Murray — but that she had not planned to kill her.

“Jayna was killed by Brittany, but not with premeditation,” Mr. Wood said. “During that fight, Brittany Norwood lost it — there is no doubt about that. She lost control.”

The distinction aims to undercut the argument of prosecutors, who must prove that the attack was premeditated to win a first-degree murder conviction instead of a lesser second-degree murder conviction. Prosecutors have said they will seek life without parole if Miss Norwood is convicted of first-degree murder.

Mr. McCarthy said that on March 11, the night of the killing, the women closed the store together but that Miss Norwood lured Murray back and the deadly attack ensued inside the store. He said an employee at a neighboring Apple Store overheard two women yelling, and one screaming, “Oh God, please help me.”

Prosecutors have suggested the motive for the killing could have come earlier in the day, when Murray found what she thought to be stolen merchandise in Miss Norwood’s bag.

The next morning, when an employee opened the store, Miss Norwood was found bound and bloodied in a bathroom, and Murray dead, lying in a pool of blood in a back room. Miss Norwood appeared “traumatized,” had a slit cut in the crotch of her pants and never opened her eyes or spoke with the first officers to arrive on the scene, Montgomery County Police Officer Christin Knuth testified.

“I squatted down beside her and touched her arm and she flinched,” Officer Knuth said.

Miss Norwood initially told police that she and Murray were attacked by two men who entered the store after closing.

In his opening statement, Mr. McCarthy dissected the story that Miss Norwood has admitted contriving in order to cover her tracks. She initially said the attackers sexually assaulted her by using a wooden clothes hanger. Mr. McCarthy contrasted the claim with what investigators later learned - that using men’s shoes from the store she created footprints in Murray’s blood, and she moved Murray’s car from where it was double parked outside the store to give her 10 hours to doctor the crime scene.

“Ask yourself, what do the succession of lies tell you about the cunning and guile of this woman?” Mr. McCarthy said to the jurors.

Mr. Wood said Miss Norwood’s actions were those of a woman who found herself in a frightening position.

“They show someone who got involved in a nightmarish situation and had this imagination and explanation of what happened,” Mr. Wood said. “This is not first-degree, premeditated, willful murder.”

Miss Norwood was arrested a week after the crime, after investigators uncovered inconsistencies in her story.

The families of both women were present in the Rockville courtroom, sitting in rows across the aisle from each other. Murray’s family wore buttons with a picture of her, but they were ordered to remove the buttons by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg.

Miss Norwood, who wore a gray sweater over a white shirt with a ruffled collar, sat passively through the day’s proceedings. She kept her gaze either straight ahead or down at the table before her, even as an image of Murray’s gash-covered head was flashed before the court on a projector, eliciting audible gasps from the dozens of people in the courtroom.

In addition to the first officer to arrive at Lululemon, the jury of six men and six women also heard testimony from the store’s manager and a passer-by who entered the store with the frightened manager the morning of March 12 and found Murray’s body.

Store manager Rachel Oertli explained the layout of the store and testified that the items used as weapons against Murray could generally be found in the back portion of the store, though not all in the narrow hallway where Murray’s body was found.

 
 

Prosecutor: Brittany Norwood Stole Merchandise Before Killing Jayna Murray

By Andrea Canning and Jessica Hopper - ABCNews.go.com

March 21, 2011

Brittany Norwood, the Maryland woman accused of murdering her co-worker in a yoga shop and then staging a fake crime, was in possession of stolen merchandise at the time of the killing, state prosecutors said.

A confrontation between Norwood and 30-year-old Jayna Murray over the stolen merchandise may have led to Murray's death, State Attorney John McCarthy said.

Appearing in a Montgomery County courtroom via video conference, Norwood was ordered to be held without bond.

During the court hearing, new details emerged about the alleged attack. Prosecutors claim the struggle between Norwood and Murray at the Lululemon Athletic shop in Bethesda, Md., may have lasted more than 20 minutes, ABC Affiliate WJLA reported.

The blows to Murray's head were too numerous to count. Her skull was fractured and spinal cord severed by a wound that extended through her neck, WJLA reported.

Norwood was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Murray, her co-worker at the Lululemon Athletica shop.

"The main message that I would send is that we believe very, very strongly in the U.S. justice system and we are going to let the justice system prevail," David Murray, Jayna Murray's father, said.

The parents of Murray said their daughter never mentioned the woman now accused of killing her, Brittany Norwood.

"There were always people that she would have dinner with and go to movies with, but Brittany's name was never mentioned," Phyllis Murray, Jayna Murray's mother, said.

Police discovered the crime scene March 12 at store in Bethesda. Murray was dead and Norwood was bound with her hands tied above her head.

When Murray's brother found out that his sister was dead, he was in Iraq working as an Army attorney.

"I had been told that my sister had been murdered," Hugh Murray said. "It was devastating, it broke me."

Fear spread through the D.C. suburb that a killer was on the loose.

"It's the rumors that kill and it just burns you inside," Phyllis Murray said.

Police say Norwood told them that after closing up the store for the night on March 11, she and Murray, a fellow employee, returned to pick up the wallet she had forgotten at work. Two masked men followed them in, bound them, sexually assaulted them and when Murray resisted, they beat and stabbed her to death, police say Norwood told them.

But Norwood's story apparently didn't add up.

"Almost none of it matched up," former FBI agent Brad Garrett said as he surveyed the scene at Lululemon, where the windows were full of flowers, notes and pictures of Jayna Murray, who police say was murdered in the store.

Medical examiners found no evidence of sexual assault on either victim. Only two sets of footprints were found -- Norwood's, and one from a pair of shoes found at the scene, which police theorized Norwood used to plant false footprints.

"We were able to determine that there were only two sets of footprints at the crime scene, one belonging to Ms. Norwood another belonging to a size 14 shoe that was recovered in the store," Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said.

Police: Evidence, Reports Did Not Support Victim's Account

When Norwood was found by a store employee opening up the next morning, police say the position she was tied in, with her hands bound above her head, was suspicious to police, suggesting she might have fastened the bonds herself.

Murray's car had also been moved, and was spattered with the blood of Norwood, who police say told them her assailants ordered her to re-park the car, which had been outside the store, and return in 10 minutes or be killed.

"As we began analyzing the physical evidence and looked at the medical reports, it was not supporting what Ms. Norwood had told us," Manger said.

Then workers at the Apple Computer store next door told police that on the night of the killing, they heard two women arguing.

A college teammate of Norwood shed some light on her past.

"Other girls on the team told me things like, 'Watch your locker, keep it locked.' She's been known to steal things," Megan Healy said.

The family of Jayna Murray is healing through launching a foundation to remember the adventure-seeking young woman who loved to go bungee jumping.

"One of the most fearless people I've ever known in my life and that's as objective as a father can get. I really admired her for everything she did and everything she represented," David Murray said.

The family has created the Jayna Troxel Murray Foundation to remember Murray's life.

"People have always commented that it was her smile and it was her hugs. Whether she knew you for two seconds or years, those were her greetings. She wanted people tot feel comfortable and happy," Phyllis Murray said.

 
 

Lululemon Bethesda slaying arrest announced; Brittany Norwood being charged with murder

By Dan Morse and Maria Glod - WashingtonPost.com

March 19, 2011

The woman portrayed as the brave survivor of a brutal attack at a Bethesda yoga store has now been charged with killing her co-worker.

The victim-turned-suspect was found inside the Lululemon Athletica store bound and bruised, and she convinced detectives that two men in ski masks and gloves raped and beat her and her fellow employee.

But it was all a lie, police now say.

Brittany Norwood, 27, was charged late Friday with murder in the March 11 death of Jayna T. Murray, 30, who was beaten and stabbed.

Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said that there is no evidence there were any sexual assaults at all and that Norwood very likely inflicted her own injuries and tied herself up.

Norwood’s tale, which captivated the region and had shoppers and merchants along Bethesda Row in fear, began to unravel as detectives looked at the evidence.

“When the investigation began, detectives had only the story of Ms. Norwood to go by,” Manger said. But “the forensic evidence and the physical evidence was not supporting what Ms. Norwood had told us.”

The suspect’s story terrified residents and merchants in downtown Bethesda, an area of restaurants and high-end stores that has long been considered one of the safest spots in the region. Stores moved to install security cameras. Private security guards escorted workers to their cars. Average citizens began asking clothing stores if they’d sold ski masks to anyone suspicious. A reward of more than $150,000 was lined up to catch the intruders.

But in the end, Norwood, who went to high school in Washington state and college in Long Island, N.Y., couldn’t keep her story going, police said.

Assistant Chief Drew Tracy said there were some inconsistencies from the beginning, but detectives chalked them up in part to a stressed victim.

One of the unanswered questions, Tracy said, involved Norwood’s wounds. The wounds were superficial, compared with Murray’s. Investigators wondered why she didn’t leave the store before another employee opened it the next morning.

A big break in the case was provided by evidence found in Murray’s car, Manger said. Norwood had gotten into Murray’s car, which had been parked in front of the store, and drove it to a parking lot a few blocks away off Wisconsin Avenue, the chief said. He declined to specify what was found in the car.

Manger also said detectives found only two sets of bloody shoe prints in the Lululemon store. One set belonged to Norwood, he said, and the other came from shoes that belonged to the store and were found at the crime scene. So that cast doubt on the story about intruders, police said.

In addition, employees of an Apple store next door said they heard two women arguing the night of the killing, Manger said.

Tracy and Manger both said that detectives had little choice but to believe Norwood’s story at first.

“Victims of sexual assault, you have to take their story as truthful,” the chief said.

When police began their probe, Manger said, detectives aggressively investigated Norwood’s story. They examined surveillance cameras from the area, searching for signs of the mysterious attackers. Tips came in, and officers even followed a man they thought might be a “person of interest,” Manger said.

“Four days ago I really believed this was a random crime of opportunity,” Manger said. “It’s a tragic case.”

At first, Norwood appeared to be a victim, along with Murray.

About 8 a.m. last Saturday, a worker at Lululemon arrived for work and heard a noise in the back of the store. She retreated and asked a man outside to go in. He found a horrific, bloody crime scene, according to officials.

Norwood was tied up. She was taken to a local hospital, where detectives spoke to her. Police officials began describing the case to reporters, based largely on her statements.

By Monday, officials had established a timeline of what they believed had happened:

At 9:45 p.m., after closing the store, Norwood and Murray left. But Norwood called Murray to say she had left her wallet in the store and asked if Murray could meet her there, police said. They went inside, closely followed into the store by two masked men, who attacked them.

By Tuesday, what appeared to be a promising lead that tracked the suspect’s original story had dried up, according to a police source. At the same time, analysis of forensic evidence was starting to come in.

For Bethesda Row merchants, the arrest was a relief.

“Everybody feels like they can breathe,” said Golnaz Fiez, general manager of Assaggi Restaurant Mozzarella Bar on Bethesda Avenue, a few doors down from the yoga store.

The restaurant’s business was down 50 percent this week, said Giovanni Medrano, a manager at the restaurant. Foot traffic along the road has been light and many businesses have closed early because employees were nervous, he said.

“It brings closure to the case,” Medrano said. “People have been very, very apprehensive. Very, very nervous.”

Staff writers Dana Hedgpeth, Ed O’Keefe and Clarence Williams and researchers Jennifer Jenkins and Julie Tate contributed to this report.

 
 

Brittany Norwood arrested in Lululemon murder case

Tbd.com

March 18, 2011

A whodunit that has captivated the Washington region took a twisted turn Friday afternoon when police arrested Brittany Norwood for the murder of her co-worker, Lululemon Athletica employee Jayna Murray.

When another employee arrived at the store last Saturday, March 12, she found Murray dead at the back of the store. Norwood was also on the floor, tied up.

Norwood said she and Murray, 30, had been attacked by two masked men wearing gloves. She said the men had sexually attacked both women, tied up Norwood, 28, and killed Murray.

But Montgomery County Police say forensic evidence and inconsistencies in Norwood's story led them to conclude that she was the attacker—not one of the victims.

According to a police affidavit, officers had doubts from the beginning about the stories Norwood told them as she described the attack

While Norwood told police she had been sexually assaulted and she had cuts on her body, there was no indication that she had been raped and her wounds were superficial and had all the characteristics of self inflicted injuries.

When police found Norwood Saturday morning on the floor at the store, her hands were tied above her head and her feet were bound. But they believed that she had posed herself in that position.

Murray's car was found approximately three blocks away in a public parking lot on March 15. When it was examined, blood was found in various areas.

On March 16, Norwood was interviewed again and asked if she had ever been in Murray’s vehicle. Norwood said she had only seen the car in passing and she gave several different accounts of events. But the stories didn’t fit with the physical evidence, police say.

On March 18, at police headquarters, Norwood offered what police called an “unbelievable account.” She said that before she was sexually assaulted, the masked men made her take Murray's keys and move the car while they stayed in the store.

While she was outside the store, Norwood said she saw a police officer and two other people on the street. But she didn’t ask for assistance and returned to the store through the unlocked door.

Police say Norwood couldn’t explain the inconsistencies in her interviews.

In a 7 p.m. press conference on Friday, Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger reported that they had charged Norwood with the slaying.

He said the two women had a dispute prior to the incident but didn’t go into detail about it. Witness interviews revealed that in a neighboring stores employees heard two women screaming at each other at about 10:30 p.m. that night.

Manger said that there was also no evidence that either woman was sexually assaulted.

Manger described the case as having many twists and turns. The police at one point had several promising leads. However, statements from Norwood and the forensic evidence didn't match up. "We went where the evidence led,” he said.

Police recovered two sets of bloody footprints inside the store. One set belonged to Norwood. The other set was made by a pair of shoes that were used by the store to measure pants.

The scene and the store shoes showed evidence that someone had tried to clean up, a fact that was clearly suspicious.

Police suspect Norwood caused her own wounds after killing Murray, who died from blunt force trauma and stab wounds.

Norwood is from Washington State, but has ties to Virginia and New York. After graduating from high school she attended Stony Brook University in New York and was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player on the school soccer team in 2003.

Records show that Norwood has lived in several places in Virginia and moved to a Columbia Heights apartment in the District. According to D.C. Superior Court records, she and her roommate, Erin McManimon, were sued by their landlord over failure to pay rent in 2008. Public records indicate that she left the building in June of that year.

The slaying took place along a dense commercial strip in downtown Bethesda, a circumstance that gave police some optimism that surveillance footage from nearby businesses might yield some leads in the case.

After examining such footage, however, police indicated that there was nothing helpful in the tapes.

The slaying and attack sent shockwaves through the Bethesda community.

A reward exceeding $150,000 has been offered for information about the slaying. Business groups, as well as the police, planned a security meeting within the week to discuss the slaying.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett praised police and reassured residents that the region is safe.

“Anywhere in the region we take crime seriously,” he said. “I am delighted that we were able to move so fast.”

Murray was well known and liked in the busy neighborhood of boutiques and restaurants. People continue to offer prayers and gifts in front of the still-closed store.

County Council Member Roger Berliner says when "when police made the arrest, people started breathing again."

"It is a gruesome tragedy," he says.

Norwood is due to appear at a Monday court hearing where she is expected to be charged with first degree murder.

Visitation services took place Friday in The Woodlands, Tex. The memorial service was set for Saturday in Texas.

A memorial guestbook has also been created for Jayna Murray.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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