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Photos Of The Crime Scene Released In Lululemon Murder Trial | News

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Photos Of The Crime Scene Released In Lululemon Murder Trial

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- It was another day of riveting testimony on the fourth day of the Brittany Norwood trial at the Montgomery County Circuit Court. Norwood is facing first degree murder charges in the beating death of Lululemon Athletica yoga store co-worker Jayna Murray.

Murray, was found dead in the backroom of Lululemon back in March. State attorney John McCarthy painted a brutal picture of the death of Murray, who prosecutors say was killed using a hammer, box cutter and various toolbox items. 


Then, police say, Norwood staged an elaborate crime scene inside the store and claimed both she and Murray had been attacked by two men.

Norwood was treated like a victim for nearly a week, while police tried to follow leads in the story she told. As her story changed, so did detectives' view of Norwood as a victim. She was arrested a week after the murder and charged as the prime suspect in the case. 


The most recent witness to take the stand in the trial was Amanda Kraemer, the Montgomery County Police forensic scientist who examined the crime scene.

Kraemer walked the jury through her investigation, pulling out each piece of evidence along the way. She showed Murray's belongings, including her jacket, shoes and metro pass that she had given to Norwood earlier that evening.

She then started running through the contents of the toolbox, which police say was used to kill Murray. Kraemer was asked to show the hammer, merchandising tool and white cord that was tied around Murray's neck.

When asked about blood evidence present in the crime scene, Kraemer said, "Some of the shoe prints under the ladder were in a way that would have been un-natural."

Judge Robert Greenberg stopped cross examination around 5:15 p.m. to ask if the jury needed a break.

He dismissed court soon after on Thursday.

Detective Deana Mackie, who interviewed Norwood the day after Murray was murdered was also called to the stand earlier on Thursday.

The courtroom fell silent as the jury heard an audiotape of the police interview of Norwood at Suburban Hospital. She details her original story about two masked intruders who allegedly beat and sexually assaulted her and Murray.

At the beginning of the interview, she asks Detective Mackie, "Can you tell me how my friend is doing." 

When asked what happened that Friday night in Bethesda, Norwood replies in tears and anguish, "I just don't know."

"He told me if he heard another word, he would slit my throat," Norwood said. 

As for Jayna, Norwood said through tears: "They drug Jayna by her hair. He was repeatedly hitting her. And she was screaming and I couldn't do anything."

"I couldn't help her. It seemed they both had masks and they kept laughing," Norwood said. "There was so much blood coming from her."

Norwood also raised a racial element. Saying the two masked attackers sounded white and the man assaulting her repeatedly used racial slurs. Norwood sobbed: "He was cutting me down my stomach. He called me a dirty [expletive]. Said he'd never been with one of me."

Norwood said she was beaten by one of the two men, who used a wooden hanger to sexually assault her. They then continued to tie her up and cut her with some sort of sharp weapon, according to Norwood. They left her there "for hours" to die.

"And all I can think, this is all my fault. I didn't do anything to help her," Norwood said.

The jury also saw photographs of Norwood soon after her hospital arrival. They show a 1-2 inch cut on her hand and minor scratches on her abdomen and thighs. Her clothing was also shown; black stretch pants with the crotch cut out and slashes on the legs. Also, a pair of socks, saturated in blood.



The state also called Officer Colin O'Brien to the stand early Thursday, who observed Norwood when she was admitted to the hospital after being found tied up in the back of the store the morning after Murray's death. Officer O'Brien was asked to show the jury each piece of clothing Norwood had been wearing at that time.

When she arrived at the hospital, O'Brien said he was "empathetic" with Norwood.

"I truly believed she was a victim when she came into the hospital," O'Brien said.

The state then called ER and trauma nurse Jo Beth Hager as a witness, who said Norwood had no lacerations on her back or forearms after telling Hager she had rolled around in broken glass.

"There was a lot of things that were odd," Hager said.

The judge also released some of the visual evidence presented in court Wednesday. But he did use his discretion and did not release everything to the public, including photos of Jayna Murray at the crime scene and in her autopsy.


The jury, which consists of six men and six women, was sworn in early morning.

The jury selected is being tasked to decide whether or not Norwood planned to murder Murray.

The prosecution presented a packet of 35 autopsy photos to judge, but the state will only use 3 of them. According to the state, each demonstrates a pattern of injuries that indicate the variety of weapons used in the murder.

"It is essential to prove time, weapons gathered, and premeditation." McCarthy said.

The prosecutor also said box cutter injuries to the rear were found as well as a stab wound through the neck. These photos were not shown in opening statements.

The defense argued that if graphic photos were shown in the beginning, then they would shock the jury and the jury wouldn't listen to anything else. The medical examiner has been set to introduce some of the more graphic photos later.

There were photos of Murray's body at the crime scene. Viewers can see her lower body, blood spatter on wall and floor. There is also a photo of the hand wound and her forehead, which shows distinctive marks. The hand shows defensive wounds.

The final photos allowed in opening were those of Norwood found at the scene and Murray in life.

In opening statements, the state said that Murray suffered a minimum of 322 distinct, identifiable injuries and 107 defensive wounds. The medical examiner said it was the most defensive wounds she had ever seen, according to the state.

Murray suffered two stab wounds through the rear of her neck. One went out the other side while the other went through her brain. According to prosecutors, the attack took 20 to 30 minutes until Murray died.

Norwood suffered a cut to hand that needed stitches and minor scratches. The state said that Norwood had 10 hours to concoct her elaborate lies. Jayna Murray was found with rope around her neck. The rope burn on her chin indicated a struggle.

According to the state, 6 to 8 weapons were used, creating "patterning injuries" on Murray's skull and elsewhere.

"Jayna's death was not slow, not painless. This is a young woman who struggled to survive," McCarthy said. 

Norwood's mother, father and two sisters sat in third row, opposite of the Murrays. The sisters wept, and her mother and father appeared stunned.

The Murrays appeared stoic. Jayna's mother, father, two brothers and relatives were sitting together, wearing lapel pins with Jayna's photo.

"Today, we begin the process of holding Brittany Norwood accountable for the crime she committed," McCarthy said in opening statements.

The defense argued that Norwood killed Murray but is not guilty of first degree murder because it was not pre-meditated, deliberate or malicious.

According to the state,  an employee at the Apple Store next door to the Lululemon store said that she heard the sound of "furniture moving" and two women yelling. Then, the employee heard a voice say: "Oh God, please help me."

It was the voice of Jayna Murray.

The defense argued that this showed there was an argument and altercation between two women, and during that fight, Norwood lost it. It also said that she unfortunately and stupidly caused the death of Murray but there was no guile or manipulating police. According to the defense, things that Norwood did after crime were totally inept and Norwood got involved in a "nightmarish" situation.

The defense urged jurors to keep an open mind -- that it was an awful thing that happened to Jayna Murray and an awful thing that happened to Brittany Norwood.

The first witness called to the stand was Rachel Oertli, Lululemon store manager. Rachel Oertli wiped away tears as she listened to 9-1-1 calls she made after discovering the front door of lululemon unlocked and the store disheveled on the morning of Sat. March 12.

"I was too scared to walk back because it looked like there was a struggle. I knew something was wrong... Oh my God," said Oerti. She also said that she was scared that "one of my girls" was hurt.

Following Oertli, the state called in Ryan Haugh, who was the first on the scene of Murray's death. While waiting outside the Apple store on the morning of March 12, 2011, he saw the Lululemon store manager, Rachel, in need. She thought someone had broken into the store, so he continued to go in and look. That's when he found the body of Murray face down on the ground and Norwood tied up close by.

"I saw a significant amount of blood and tapped the body to see if she'd move," Haugh said.

The state then proceeded to call Officer Christin Knuth to the stand, who was on call the morning the bodies were found.

"The thing that stood out the most were her socks. The bottom of her socks were completely saturated with blood," Officer Knuth said.

The Corporal on duty that day, Corporal Rankin, as well as paramedic James Hamilton were also called to the stand.


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