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Defense: Norwood 'Lost It'

Defense says they will argue Brittany Norwood killed Jayna Murray during a fight without premeditation.

Brittany Norwood killed Jayna Murray at Bethesda's Lululemon store March 11 during a "horrific fight," Norwood's defense team said during opening statements Wednesday.

But the crime happened without premeditation, defense lawyer Douglas Wood argued. "Something erupted between these two young women in the store that night."

"Brittany Norwood lost it, ladies and gentlemen," Wood told the jury. "There's no doubt about it." 

Norwood, 29, stands accused of killing Murray, 30, at the downtown Bethesda store where the two women worked in March.

Wood said Norwood "grabbed the stuff within her reach and unfortunately and stupidly caused the death of Jayna Murray." 

The crime, he said, took about 10-15 minutes.

The jury, Wood said, were chosen because of their willingness to judge evidence impartially, and he urged them to keep an open mind.

Prosecutors painted a much different story during opening statements, given just prior to the defense team's. Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said Murray sustained at least 322 wounds, the majority of which occurred while she was alive. A hundred and seven of those wounds were defensive, which he said the medical examiner would testify were the most she had ever seen.

McCarthy said Norwood used weapons from within the store including a hammer, a wrench, a knife, a rope, a box cutter, and a merchandise peg. The peg was among the items he said left a pattern of injuries in Murray's skull, indicating she had been beaten with the same item multiple times.

McCarthy showed the rope and the peg to the jury, along with photographs of Murray's body, Norwood when she was discovered inside the store's restroom, and a photograph of Murray's skull.

Next door at the Apple Store, a few employees heard noises shortly after 10:05 p.m. — when the two women re-entered the store — loud enough to cause them to bang on the wall. One employee heard someone say, "Oh God, please help me." 

Patch is reporting live from the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville. Stay tuned for updates.

Editor's Note: This article has been corrected. In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly noted the photo credit. We regret the error.

Mick October 27, 2011 at 06:08 PM
here you go Melinka58 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSpB10GdpkQ
Rose October 27, 2011 at 06:10 PM
It is also, not the Colored Peoples fault that they feel that the Other can not be Trusted! Wake Up there is STILL SEPARATION by Ethnicity ti this day. Next time, you fill out any paper work... JOB Application, Student Loan Forms or any Medical Form... You will see, African American, Latin, Native American... just a little friendlier way of saying, COLORED or WHITE!
David Glass October 27, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Sorry Rod but not all of us in Texas agree with your bloodthirst. To me you are n o different from this girl. You do not solve murder by murdering. And how many times have we got it wrong in Texas and murdered an innocent man? Many. If it works so well why do people in Texas still murder? Foolish words spoken by you Rod.
David Glass October 27, 2011 at 06:23 PM
No that has never happened to me and I would suggest that if you are having these kind of episodes you should seek help before we are reading about you. Please!
Lorna October 27, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Praying will do nothing. It's clear the perpetrator needed counseling and maybe medication. Do you think any religious icon can affect and remedy an individual's brain chemistry and rage? And I can tell you from experience -- it doesn't help or shorten the grieving process. If people want to be good to the affected families, they should volunteer to bring meals, offer to drive, assist with household chores and pitch-in to babysit. In other words, help with life's daily obligations as they cope with this aftermath. Offering prayers is a cop-out to offering genuinely needed help. "Actions speak louder than words."
Kim Ring October 27, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Melanika : Never heard anyone hero worshiping any of the criminals you listed. That is ridiculous, and you are making yourself sound absurdly racist against "whites". Johns Girl you are right. Affirmative action sucks, and people should be accepted to universities, etc. on intellectual merit, not because their skin is a darker shade !!! I do appreciate that Melanika is well spoken, and literate, however-- unlike some of the misspelling , grammar ignorant "criminals" posting on here. Oh-- and Norwood is obviously not just insane . She was angry with this particular person, and she made the choice to be cruel and evil . I don't care if her skin is violet , orange or green. She is evil .
Judy Chandler October 27, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Did you even read this article? Where did you get "she thought she would get the self defense clause"? There is nothing even mentioned about self defense. And how do you know that the other lady could not run obviously from the first blow? I hope you aren't ever really on a jury!
You kiddin October 27, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Go to any black college supported by the federal government and listen to the hate mongering. Also how to claim racism. Also sit in the black churches and listen to the hate whitey sermons. Have you not seen Jeremiah Right/Wright obama's preacher
Michael Young October 27, 2011 at 06:49 PM
fact of the matter, this woman took a life. Why should we as tax payers foot the bill for her to be incarcerated for the rest of her life. She gets free room and board for taking someone's daughter, sister, lover, wife and such away. Even the bible says " an eye for an eye " . She took a life so why does she deserve to live and why should other's have to pay for her to live ?
Frank October 27, 2011 at 06:49 PM
And you're a tough guy on the other side of the internet. Yawn.
George Dolan October 27, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Very excellent comment...+1 from me...
GLO October 27, 2011 at 06:51 PM
Jayna Murray was hit 322 times, with 107 defense wounds - it other words she fought for her life for a long time. I agree that she might have been saved had someone at the Apple store done the right thing and called the police. The fact that the assailant called Jayna Murray back to the store after she knew she was going to be outed for shoplifting proves premeditation. I hope the jurors do the right thing and put this threat to civilized society where she belongs. Life without parole is lenient in this case.
JoAnna October 27, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Well said, she would have attacked the co-worker no matter WHAT her race was. She is a violent killer.
y.e. October 27, 2011 at 07:05 PM
@Heidi - The article states 'when they reentered the store' and we all know this happened late in the evening. As a Retail Manager, I can tell you almost all companies do bag checks at the end of shifts. If Norwood had a history of theft, maybe Jayna found something that set the unfortunate chain of events in motion. It's all speculation until Norwood decides to be honest about what really happened. I know I have personally been put in some scary situations with employees myself...
Dennis Wanken October 27, 2011 at 07:05 PM
I can't believe all of these comments. I think all of you should vote your conscience in the next election. Although we have Jerry Brown as governor, Maryland has O'Malley. I'd have to flip a coin to determine who is worse.
Pam J October 27, 2011 at 07:07 PM
I hate to admit it, but you are right.
Pam J October 27, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Do we know that the killing had absolutely nothing to do with race? I doubt very seriously if she would admit that she killed her because she was white or that she kept on hurting her because of it. We are a long way from there being no racism in the world. Maybe two or three more generations.
Paul A. Cigna October 27, 2011 at 07:25 PM
poorly written...i have no way of knowing who is Brittany and who is Jayna...is this a White on Black Crime or a Black on White Crime ?
Mary October 27, 2011 at 07:36 PM
LuLu Lemon should be responsible!! My daughter worked there and she was left alone at night to close up the store and go through the back parking lot to her car..very dangerous, especially if someone knows the ropes of how the inner workings of the store is. LuLu Lemon is verpriced and they treat thier empoyees like crap..make them compete against each other all the while chanting thier Namaste approach. So Sad!
Nicarol October 27, 2011 at 07:36 PM
The white woman is the victim. Wonder why this was not charged as a hate crime? Seems like that happens frequently when a white person kills a black person, and always when a normal person kills a gay person. I guess it does not apply when the victim is only a straight white woman.
Marie October 27, 2011 at 07:43 PM
I do remember when this story came out reading about something where Murray somehow/someway came accross something Norwood was doing which could cause her to lose her job (I think it was in fact stealing). She contacted Managers regarding this and I believe they were supposed to have a meeting the following morning. I may be wrong, but this is what came to mind as I'm reading this followup on the case. So, yes this does show a motive. What is really pathetic here is all the people trying to think of some rhyme/reason for this- a racial issue, some sort of argument b/t the two, some stress disorder... the fact remains that a human being is dead due to the hands of someone else. The crime scene clearly potrays an individual who was capable of violence beyond comprehension. This stuff is happening all around us- the rich, the poor, the nice, the angered, the perfect little family, the family living in poverty... it doesn't even matter anymore what you look like, your status, your character. Perfectly normal people are going out there and becoming complete animals at the switch of a button. You can ponder all you want about why or that there has to be some sort of rhyme/reason, but the fact remains someone was murdered at the hands of another... and quite frankly a murder scene where over 300 wounds were inflicted speaks volumes about where this person belongs for the remainder of their life.
john pecynski October 27, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Norwood is guilty of premeditation in this, the amount of time and various instruments she used beating her victim and trying to cover it up after calling her back to the store, how could it be anything else? Miss Murray had over 100 defensive wounds on her body trying to save herself, Norwood had plenty of time after the first blow to stop, but continued on for like 15 minutes. 15 minutes is a tremendous amount of time to be trying to kill someone, Miss Murray died a horrible death in terror!
GLO October 27, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Britney Norwood is a long time thief, accomplished liar, and savage murderer. She deserves worse than to be fed and housed for life. She knew she was going to be outed for thievery and came back to the store to kill the woman who was going to make her lose her job. Period. I call that premeditated.
Steve Moody October 27, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Rarely are things as they first appear. I believe that as the skilled, caring, and most of all honest defense council moves forward, we will discover that this sad moment in time was purely a hate crime. Not in the sense that a black women brutally murdered a white women, oh no, I think that after careful deliberation the jury will find that Jayna Murray "Had it coming". The council for the defense will first insist that the jury don their liberal, progressive colored glasses in order to fairly stand in judgment of an accused that is of African descent. Only then will the members of the jury be equipped to understand how "Brittany Norwood lost it, grabbed the stuff within her reach and unfortunately and stupidly caused the death of Jayna Murray." It will become apparent that Jayna Murray is not only white, but just how white Jayna Murray actually is. First, any unbiased observer will notice Murray's natural blonde hair and preppy look. Photo's will be shown that will prove her to be a world traveler of privilege, with the unfair advantage of a stable upbringing with a loving family oblivious of the plight of minorities in America. It will be established early on in the trial proceedings that Murray's wallet did not contain an EBT card, nor did it show any sign of government welfare dependence. These facts will further demonstrate Murray's elitist, superior, Self-righteousness proving beyond all reasonable doubt that Jayna Murray is responsible for her own death.
anthony adams October 27, 2011 at 08:10 PM
she should be tried with a hate crime if a white would have savagely beaten a non white like this it would make international headlines and there would be hate crime charges against them with the death penalty given wake up white people are you ever going to learn
Johns Girl October 27, 2011 at 08:30 PM
I could not agree with you more.
Taste Blackmon October 27, 2011 at 09:01 PM
@karla - Yes, people have been that angry, but they won't admit it. Like you I don't condone murder. Everybody is calling the woman demented and deranged, but nobody knows how far they will go until they are in that position. If anybody is pushed too far, or feels theatened that person will act and cause harm to another individual. I'm not saying that the woman should not pay for what she did, because she admitted she killed Ms. Murray. I don't think it has anything to do with color. As @Lisa stated you don't know what other people are going through. For example a man on my job was constantly harrassed, written up for little things, and targeted by our supervisor in attempt to get rid of him. Why? Because she felt he was fat and gross to look at (those are her words). He was given a notice to meet with the director, supervisor and HR. He snapped - he came to work and shot and killed the supervisor, the HR specialist, a administrative assistant and he shot the director twice in the face and he probably would have killed her if the security guards hadn't jumped him from behind. My point is that we don't know what will make a person snap. WE all are capable of committing murder if we are pushed to the limit.
Steve Moody October 27, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Who has claimed to speak for "white people"? Name that bigot!
Heidi Dietrich October 27, 2011 at 10:34 PM
I do believe that prayer can help but that doesn't mean that this woman needs to do jail time. After all prayers can affect someone even if they are behind bars. Forgiveness can be granted but that doesn't mean she should walk.
Heidi Dietrich October 27, 2011 at 10:36 PM
How many people have the same imbalance and diet yet have not killed anyone? Do you have the stats on that? None of what you said is an excuse. Thanks for your wonderful advertisement.

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