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.
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.