Decatur grad faces life in prison for Maryland murder
November 3, 2011 · Updated 6:30 PM
From staff reports:
A former Decatur High School graduate and soccer player was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday in Maryland after killing a co-worker.
Brittany Norwood, a 2000 Decatur grad, faces life in prison after she used at least a half-dozen weapons to kill Jayna Murray inside the Lululemon Athletica shop in Bethesda, Md., an upscale suburb of Washington, D.C. A jury in Montgomery County took about an hour before returning to the courtroom with the guilty verdict against Norwood, according to the Associated Press.
According to published reports, Norwood fabricated a story that she and Murray were attacked at the store.
Investigating the crime, Bethesda Police could not find evidence that the two women were attacked and sexually assaulted, as Norwood had initially told them. According to the Washington Post, police only found two sets of footprints inside the store and heard from witnesses at a neighboring store that two women were heard arguing on the night Murray died.
A medical examiner testified during the trial that she found at least 331 wounds on Murray’s body and that the woman was alive for the duration of the attack.
Norwood’s lawyer conceded during the trial that Norwood killed Murray, 30. But he said it happened during a fight and wasn’t premeditated. The argument was aimed at reducing the charge to second-degree murder, which doesn’t carry a life-without-parole sentence.
“I think that we were surprised that this happened so quick,” Norwood’s attorney, Doug Wood, told the AP. “I thought we had established a pretty good case for second-degree murder.”
Maryland State Attorney John McCarthy told jurors during his closing arguments that there was abundant evidence of premeditation, according to the Associated Press. He said Norwood lured Murray back to the store after closing by saying she had forgotten her wallet and needed to get back inside.
Norwood graduated from Decatur in 2000 and went on to play soccer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook on Long Island. Norwood was an All-South Puget Sound League selection as a junior and senior.