CRIME

Convicted Lululemon killer Brittany Norwood says she deserves a new trial

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BETHESDA, Md. (WJLA) - Convicted murderer Brittany Norwood is asking for a new trial after a jury previously found her guilty of killing co-worker Jayna Murray at upscale yoga shop Lululemon in Bethesda in 2011.

Brittany Norwood was convicted of brutally murdering her co-worker Jayna Murray in 2011.
A surveillance photo of Norwood being interviewed by police in 2011. (Courtesy: MCPD)

It was a gruesome crime that captivated the local area. Tuesday, Norwood and her attorney are filing an appeal.

The former yoga store saleswoman turned murderer says she deserves a new trial because prosecutors relied on police interviews, during which she claims she was placed in a small room, given the impression she wasn't free to go, and wasn't read her Miranda rights.

Montgomery County state's attorney John McCarthy prosecuted the case, and disputes all of Norwood's claims regarding the police interviews.

"She was not in custody," McCarthy said of the interviews in question. "These convictions will stand."

The murder of Murray sent shockwaves throughout the nation because of the brutality of the slaying and the twists and turns the case took.

The bloody bodies of Norwood and Murray were found in the store back in March of 2011 - Murray was dead, Norwood was tied up and injured. Norwood told authorities she and the victim had been sexually assaulted by unknown assailants who had come into the store, police said.

Authorities later announced that Norwood concocted the story and was responsible for beating Murray to death.

The struggle between the two women may have lasted more than 20 minutes and the blows to Murray's head were too numerous to count. Her skull was fractured and spinal cord severed by a wound that extended through her neck.

Police said Norwood used at least six weapons to kill Murray. She then then cut and tied herself up, later telling detectives that two masked men broke into the store and attacked both women.

Authorities said that on the day of the slaying, at her manager’s request, Murray had looked in Norwood’s personal bag and found stolen merchandise.

According to the Washington Post, Norwood's attorney said of the police interviews in a statement, "Ms. Norwood felt that she needed the detective's permission to terminate the encounter, as evidenced by her continued presence and participation in the interviews despite her clearly and repeatedly expressed desire to leave,"

Norwood's defense also argues that prosecutors in court improperly used a police officer's testimony as expert testimony, and says prosecutors used evidence from interviews with Norwood in which investigators did not mirandize her, inform her of her right to remain silent, or the right to consult an attorney.

"I think she's just desperate," said Montgomery County resident Devon Tehrani. "She was guilty."

"If there was any manipulation, it was of her making," McCarthy said.

But for those who want to move on, Norwood’s quest for a new trial resurrects an incident many here would like to put behind them. Many also believe it’s a waste of time.

A jury convicted Norwood of first-degree murder in 2011 after deliberating for only 21 minutes.

Norwood is currently serving a life sentence without the chance of parole. Her appeal could be heard in court as early as September.

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