Chris Gordon, Bill Hennessy
A lawyer for the woman accused of killing a coworker inside the Bethesda Row Lululemon Athletica store said the defendant "lost it" during a fight with the victim. (Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy.)
A lawyer for the woman accused of killing a coworker inside the Bethesda Row Lululemon Athletica store said the defendant “lost it” during a fight with the victim.
Attorney Douglas Wood acknowledged during opening statements Wednesday that Brittany Norwood killed Jayna Murray inside the upscale yoga clothing shop the night of March 11. But he told jurors that the killing lacked the premeditation to convict Norwood of first-degree murder, which could carry a sentence of life in prison without parole.
An argument escalated into a horrific fight in which Norwood lost control and unfortunately caused the death of Murray, the defense said, but it was not willful.
"During that fray, Jayna was killed by Brittany," Wood said. "There was no premeditation. Brittany lost it. She lost control. Brittany grabbed stuff within reach, unfortunately and stupidly caused the death of Jayna Murray, but that is not first-degree murder."
State's Attorney John McCarthy said Norwood attacked Murray with at least a half-dozen weapons found inside the shop, then doctored the crime scene to make it look like they had been attacked by two masked men.
Murray suffered 107 defensive wounds, the most the state medical examiner has ever seen, the prosecution said, and a total of 322 injuries.
Phone records show Norwood called Murray at 9:51 p.m. after the store was closed and asked her to go back to the store because Norwood had left her wallet there, the prosecution said. People in the neighboring Apple store heard two women arguing and fighting, with one saying, "Oh God, please help me."
Murray's car was found moved from the store with both Murray's blood and Norwood's blood inside, according to the prosecution.
Norwood told a series of lies in the week following the killing, McCarthy said.
Norwood allegedly attacked Murray after Murray found clothing stolen from the store in Norwood’s bag, authorities said.