Brittany Norwood Guilty Of First Degree Murder In lululemon Trial | News
ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- Brittany Norwood was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of lululemon co-worker Jayna Murray on Wednesday night. Norwood brutally murdered Murray in the back of the yoga store in March.
She sat emotionless as her verdict was read by Judge Robert Greenberg.
Jurors were brought back into the courtroom after an hour of deliberations. They then delivered the first degree murder verdict, deciding that Jayna Murray's death was pre-meditated. Murray's father, David Murray, broke down in tears as the verdict was read.
"The last 7 months have been very stressful. The last two weeks have been stressful- we're grateful to the jury," Murray said.
One jury member told 9NewsNow that "the overwhelming evidence that it was pre-meditated and the furious wounds found on Jayna's body" swayed the entire jury.
He said even though he didn't reach a conclusion until the close of evidence, everyone on the jury had a general consensus of first degree murder from the beginning.
"Today was really tough," he said. "Her mother on the stand yesterday- the whole thing was mentally draining."
Another juror (15-A) said he would say to the Murray family on TV Wednesday night: "I'm very sorry for your loss."
State's Attorney John McCarthy remarked about the intensity of the case for the jurors saying that it was a "horrific, difficult case," but he thought that the judge was fair to both sides.
"Every person I talked to talked glowingly of Jayna Murray," McCarthy said. "
The defense attorney, Douglas Wood, said that he thought Brittany Norwood has been remorseful. He said it was a tough experience for Norwood. He would not talk about the motive behind Norwood attacking Murray.
He did say that he hoped to talk to the judge at sentencing in hopes of sparing Norwood from life in prison without parole.
Wood also said that the Norwood family was a "fine family" and that they are upset. Norwood's family made it clear earlier that family members will not speak with the media after the verdict.
Jayna Murray's brother Hugh, her mother Phyllis and her father David all spoke at a press conference following the verdict announcement.
"We want the community to know, we want the world to know how strong an individual she was," David Murray said.
Murray also said "a new normal will come in time" but that the family is somewhat relieved after the verdict.
He also thanked the media for its coverage and respect during the case saying that media members had provided "the necessary space, the necessary support -- thank you."
"I want no other victim," Phyllis Murray said about Brittany Norwood's verdict.
In closing arguments, McCarthy walked the courtroom through Murray's murder, from the moment she entered the lululemon store to the final blow to her head that took her life.
"This killing began almost instantaneously after she was lured back there," McCarthy said.
The defense described Brittany Norwood as delusional, lost and clueless. Attorney Wood said there were so many holes in her story and her actions were so inept, they couldn't possibly be willful, deliberate or pre-meditated. The prosecution's rebuttal followed.
Then, five alternate jurors were dismissed.
The judge then cleared the courtroom. The verdict had to be unanimous among the 12 jurors.
The tension inside the darkened Rockville courthouse was palpable as Norwood's family and the defense team waited outside the courtroom. Jayna Murray's family awaited word at the State's Attorney's office on the 5th floor.
Earlier, the state showed nine autopsy photos to the jury on Wednesday. Silence fell upon the courtroom as Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland, Dr. Mary Ripple, was called to the stand. Immediate family members of the murder victim, Jayna Murray, stepped out at this time before photos were shown.
Dr. Ripple said a total of 37 photographs were taken at the time of Murray's autopsy. Due to the graphic nature of many of them, council agreed to only show nine to members of the jury.
Defendant Brittany Norwood faces first degree murder charges after co-worker Murray was found beaten to death in the back of the lululemon Athletic yoga store on March 11.
When police arrived on the scene March 12, Norwood was tied up and suffering from minor injuries. For a week she told police she and Murray were attacked by two masked men who threatened to "slit her throat."
Now, evidence of Jayna's 331 injuries came to light as Dr. Ripple walked members of the courtroom through abrasions, bruises and deep cuts found on her body.
"I believe she was alive for all of them," Ripple said.
Dr. Ripple said Murray suffered from 105 defensive wounds, a total of 83 found on her arms. She said the bruising also found on her body indicates that she had a blood pulse at the time the injuries took place.
"She had a pulse. She had a blood pulse. She bled into those wounds. She was alive," Dr. Ripple said.
The state held up different weapons that were confiscated on the crime scene, including a rope, knife, merchandising tool, hammer and wrench. Dr. Ripple showed the jury how bruise and cut patterns on Murray's body matched different weapons.
Murray suffered from 37 cut wounds to the back of her head. The one that ultimately ended her life, Dr. Ripple says, was a stab wound that hit her brain.
Norwood's lawyers argue that she did not plan to murder Murray that evening. They say when the two women began fighting, Norwood lost control and killed Murray.
The difference in charges would be first degree murder or second degree murder. A first degree murder conviction carries life without parole. A second degree conviction carries the maximum penalty of 30 years, with eligibility for parole in 15 years.
Sentencing for Norwood is scheduled for January 27 at 1:30 p.m.
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