When Brittany Norwood is sentenced Friday for the at Bethesda’s Lululemon shop, Murray’s family hopes to read aloud to the court the statements they’ve prepared describing the devastating impact the crime has had on their lives.
Norwood was convicted of first-degree murder in November, and faces life in prison. Prosecutors said she killed Murray, lied to police and elaborately staged the crime scene to make it appear the women were attacked by two masked men.
A judge will determine Friday whether or not she will be eligible for parole.
“I kind of felt like this is my last voice for Jayna, and it needed to be perfect. It needed to express everything I wanted to say,” said Hugh Murray, describing the emotional experience of writing his four-page victim impact statement.
The statement details hearing the news of the murder for the first time, his sister’s vibrant personality, and the impact her loss has had on his life, Murray told Patch.
“I would have much rather written a statement I could have read at Jayna’s wedding; a toast,” Murray said.
Victim impact statements have been submitted from across the country, reported The Washington Post, which Wednesday published two of the statements written by Jayna Murray’s close friends.
Through prosecutors, the Murray family has requested that several family members and close friends be allowed to read their statements before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg – Hugh and Kate Murray, Jayna’s mother Phyllis and father David; Jayna’s brother Dirk and his wife April; and Jayna’s boyfriend Fraser Bocell and close friend Marisa Connaughton, Kate and Hugh Murray said.
Norwood’s family has also prepared statements, made public Wednesday, urging Greenberg to allow Norwood the possibility of parole, the Washington Post reported.
It’s not clear who will be allowed to read their statements in court Friday.
In line with prosecutors, Murray’s family hopes for a sentence of life without parole for Brittany Norwood, who prosecutors say used multiple instruments to stab, cut and bludgeon Jayna Murray over 330 times – all wounds she suffered while still alive, a medical examiner testified at trial.
Norwood shouldn’t be released from prison, according to the Murrays and prosecutors, because she is beyond rehabilitation.
“It’s not like she doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong – she simply lacks a conscience,” Kate Murray said. “And you can’t teach that to someone, you can’t instill that in someone. This is who she is. It will always be a part of her. There’s no changing it.”
Hugh Murray pointed to the brutality of the crime and its impact on the community as other factors Greenberg should consider when imposing his sentence. Community members who felt threatened in the wake of the crime are also victims of Norwood’s actions, Murray said.
Life without parole is appropriate "because of the brutality behind the crime and the lack of remorse she showed during the entire trial and the verdict,” he said.
Norwood would pose a threat to the community should she ever be released from prison, Kate and Hugh Murray said. “It doesn’t matter how long she appears to conform to societal norms – her true colors will come out at some point. Who’s going to want her as their neighbor?” Kate Murray said.
“For the last 28 years, she’s completely fooled everyone,” Hugh Murray said. “…She’s incredibly dangerous.”
Life without parole is the most stringent punishment possible under Maryland law. Norwood is
Friday, Kate Murray said, she hopes to read her own victim impact statement to the court.
“I’ve been with the Murrays for 12 years, so I’ve known them before this happened and I watched them go through it,” Kate Murray said. “My statement was sharing the Murrays that I knew before this incident and the Murrays I’ve known since. It was very difficult – I think it’s going to be more difficult to stand up and say the words out loud.”
Norwood’s family, in impassioned pleas to the judge, have argued that their daughter is capable of becoming an asset to the community, the Washington Post reported. Norwood “has always been a person of a true caring nature and I know she still is,” wrote Norwood’s father, Earl, according to the Post.
During the trial, Norwood’s defense sought to prove that she and killed Murray during a “horrific fight.”
“I love my daughter more than words can say and I know she is worthy of a chance,” Earl Norwood wrote, according to the Post.
In his statement, he wrote “no one should ever have to experience” the pain the Murrays are enduring, the Post reported. Norwood’s mother, Larkita, wrote, “this terrible tragedy is incomprehensible to me,” but described her continuing love for her daughter, the Post reported.
Norwood’s sentencing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.
Norwood's defense team did not respond to a request for comment.