Medical Examiner: 'She Was Alive'
Medical Examiner Mary Ripple testified Jayna Murray was alive as she suffered at least 331 wounds.
Jayna Murray sustained at least 331 injuries before she died, and she was alive for all of them, according to testimony given today at the Lululemon trial by medical examiner Mary Ripple.
Ripple testified that bruising and bleeding around the wounds indicated that Murray was alive during the attack.
"She had a pulse, she had a blood pressure, she was bleeding into the wounds—she was alive," Ripple said.
Murray's co-worker, Brittany Norwood, stands accused of killing Murray, another Lululemon employee, at the downtown Bethesda shop March 11. The prosecution is seeking to prove Norwood pre-meditated the attack, while Norwood's defense is seeking to prove Norwood "lost it" and killed Murray in a "horrific fight."
The estimation as to the number of injuries was "conservative" said Ripple, who conducted Murray's autopsy. Up to 105 of the wounds were defensive—meaning Murray was using her arms or legs to defend herself, Ripple said. Among her injuries, Ripple testified, Murray sustained multiple cuts, bruises, abrasions and cutting wounds; six blunt force wounds to her head and another blunt force wound that crushed her skull; and a stab wounds to her shoulder, one to her lower back and two to the back of her head.
Injuries to her chin and a ligature mark to her neck also suggested a rope, Ripple said—a rope was recovered at the scene and robe fibers, along with bloody hair, were discovered in Murray's hand, Ripple said.
The blunt force injuries to Murray's skull caused bruising to the internal portion of her brain, Ripple said, which takes a "tremendous amount of force." Ripple said she had seen similar injuries in car accident victims.
Ripple said the injuries could have been consistent with a merchandise peg, one of the weapons the prosecution contends Norwood used against Murray.
"You need something with weight behind it, something that swings with a lot of force," Ripple said.
Ultimately, Ripple testified, Murray was killed by a knife wound to the back of her neck that pierced her brain—an injury after which she could survive only less than a minute. Ripple said it appeared to be "one of the later" injuries.
Besides the merchandise peg, State's Attorney John McCarthy held up several other items found at the scene—including a wrench, a hammer and a rope—and asked whether they would be consistent with Murray's injuries. She replied yes.
The Murray family stepped out of the courtroom prior to Ripple's testimony, during which the jury was shown nine autopsy photographs of Murray's body. The photos were shown on a screen that faced the jury, not on an overhead projector.
The state wanted to show all 37 autopsy photographs, but the defense had objected to the jury seeing the images, saying it would be "unduly prejudicial" to Norwood.
Montgomery County Circuit Court judge Robert Greenberg ruled that the nine photographs could be shown because they were relevant to the state's attempt to prove the Norwood pre-meditated the attack and used multiple weapons against Murray.
Ripple testified there were at least five weapons used in the attack.
On cross-examination, Wood asked Ripple whether Murray could have been knocked unconscious before sustaining the injuries, to which she replied yes.
WTOP is reporting that the defense will not call witnesses.