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Woman Says She Was Brittany Norwood's Cellmate | News

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Woman Says She Was Brittany Norwood's Cellmate

BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA) -- Charging documents in the murder case of an employee at Lululemon Athletica in Bethesda reveal the co-worker accused of killing Jayna Murray, 30, deliberately covered up the crime and gave several inconsistent statements to police.

Brittany Erin Norwood, 28, is charged with first degree murder just one week after she told police she was the second victim in a bloody, gory attempted robbery turned homicide. 

Norwood was arrested Friday afternoon at the Montgomery County Police Headquarters in Rockville. She will be held without bond at the Montgomery County Detention Center.  Her first court appearance is Monday afternoon.

On Saturday, a woman being released from Montgomery County Correctional Facility said she spent the night in jail with Norwood who "looked wild but I see someone who was scared." 

The woman, who was picked up Friday night on alcohol related charges and wished to remain anonymous said Norwood would not say much. 

"I asked her what she was in here for and she said she didn't want to talk about it," said the woman, who was released around 1pm Saturday. "She also said she didn't think she was getting out anytime soon."

Police said in a statement that the motive for the homicide remains under investigation, but they do know that Norwood and Murray had a verbal argument before the murder. They do not know what the argument was about but they believe it was "work related," according to Captain Paul Starks, Montgomery County Police Spokesman.  

On the morning of March 12, Montgomery County police responded to a call at the yoga store after an employee who opened saw signs something awful had happened inside.

When officers arrived on scene, they found Murray dead on arrival in the back of the store and Norwood in the bathroom  "lying on the bathroom  floor with hands tied above her head and her feet were bound," according to charging documents.

When interviewers first questioned Brittany Norwood, she told police that she had called Murray to say she left her wallet inside the store after closing it last Friday night. When they returned to retrieve her wallet, she told police two men with masks and gloves came in behind them.

Charging documents report that Norwood first told police " that one of the suspects forced her to open up cash tills where stored-up proceeds were kept as as the other suspect was assaulting Murray in the rear of the store.  Norwood stated she was sexaully assaulted in one of the bathrooms, tied with zip ties and she lost consciousness and only remembered beng found by officers the next morning."

Police said a sexual assault  exam was conducted the hospital and found no signs of a sexual assault.  Police now believe Norwood fabricated her story.

Police also said that a forensics team found two sets of bloody foot prints inside the store. One pair belonged to Norwood, say police, and the second pair was been made from a pair of shoes Lululemon used for customers to determine the appropriate length of pants. The shoes were recovered in the store during the processing of the scene.

Chief Thomas Manger stated that police had run surveillance on a person of interest based on the earlier description of two masked men in black but their evidence ruled that person out. Then, they found physical and forensic evidence from Murray's car that lead them to Norwood.

When police questioned Norwood for the final time on Friday about that vehicle, "Norwood gave them an unbelievable account," according to the charging documents:

She told police "that before being sexually assaulted her assailants made her take Murray's vehicle keys and made her move murray's vehicle while they remained inside the store.  Norwood stated the suspects told her to return in 10 mintues or they would kill her.   Norwood stated she saw a police officer and at least two other people on the street when she moved the car but she did not seek their assistance. She stated that she then returned to the Lululemon store and let herself in the unlocked door. Norwood was unwilling to explain the inconsistencies in all her statement. When the affiant asked Norwood if Murray started the fight, Norwood said, 'Yes,' but would not say more." 

Police say an autopsy performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined the cause of Murray's death to be blunt force trauma and stab wounds.

Lululemon also released a statement about the arrest:

"We are grateful for the dedicated members of the law enforcement community who have been working diligently to solve this crime and apprehend those responsible. We also want to express our gratitude for the overwhelming expression of support and generosity from so many over this past week. Our first priority remains with the families and team members affected by this horrible tragedy and supporting them through the next stage of the recent developments. All of the three local stores will be closed through tomorrow, March 19. We are asking the media to please respect the privacy of our educators (employees) as we help them deal with the latest developments. We are unable to comment further as this is an ongoing police investigation."

-- Christine Day, CEO lululemon athletica

A memorial service is scheduled to be held tonight in Dupont Circle for Jayna Murray, who had been living in Arlington, Va.

A wake was also held Friday night in Houston, Murray's hometown. Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

There is also a memorial page for Jayna Murray on Facebook.

Thursday night, Montgomery County police announced the reward in the Jayna Murray murder case was nearly $150,000. Friday, police said they received about 60 tips related to the murder.

People in the Bethesda Row area Friday said that they are relieved that there has been an arrest.

One woman outside Lululemon Friday said, "It's horrifying. It changes the whole story. I lived in fear for a whole week thinking there were two people on the loose and this just changes the entire perspective."

A man added, "Bethesda needed closure on this. I guess, time will tell if this is for real. Who would have thought it?"

Wendy Levine, who knew Jayna Murray, said, "People are still coming and looking, and not really understanding what's really taken place...but we all want to get back to where we were."

Watch the rest of the community reaction to the arrest


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