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.