Chris Gordon, Bill Hennessy
Nurses and investigators described some inconsistencies in Brittany Norwood's story as they investigated the Lululemon case like she also was a victim. (Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy.)
On Thursday, the court heard the first full day of testimony in the murder trial of Brittany Norwood.
Yesterday, jurors heard during opening statements that the victim, Jayna Murray, sustained 322 injuries before dying inside the Lululemon store in Bethesda.
Witnesses for the prosecution on Thursday described encountering Brittany Norwood on the day she was found inside the blood-spattered store on March 12.
First on the stand was Colin O'Brien, an off-duty Montgomery County police officer who was working security at Suburban Hospital. He recalled meeting the ambulance that transported Norwood from the crime scene to the hospital that morning.
O'Brien told the court when Norwood arrived at the hospital, she had cuts to the chest, leg, arm, and a gash on her head. She also had a one-to-two inch cut running parallel to her thumb, the officer said. That cut caught his eye. O'Brien said that kind of wound was common when a knife slips out of the user's hand. He later said that he initially believed the wound to be a defensive one.
O'Brien removed evidence items from a bag for the court: blood-stained socks and torn pants. The pants had been ripped in the crotch area, which prosecutors allege Norwood had done herself to give the appearance of a sexual assault.
When he first encountered Norwood, "I truly believed she was a victim when she came in," O'Brien said.
Nurse Marueen Reges, who examined Norwood, said she found no evidence of rape.
Another nurse at Suburban Hospital, who treated Norwood on the first day, also took the stand Thursday.
She told the court that she noticed blood on Norwood's face but none on her hair. Norwood had told investigators that she had been bound and was hanging with her head down during the night of the attack. In such a position, the nurse said, it would be likely for blood to have accumulated in the woman's hair.
The nurse also testified that the cuts were more like scratches.
Montgomery County police Detective Deana Mackie also testified. She interviewed Norwood twice on the day she was found with Murray's body, recording one of the conversations.
She testified that Norwood sobbed as she described an attack by two men, one short and one tall. According to the detective, Norwood said the short man grabbed her and the tall man grabbed Murray. Norwood said she had tried to help Murray that night but could not and that there was more blood on the scene than she had ever seen.
The jury also has seen photos of the various items Norwood allegedly used to beat, bludgeon and stab Murray. All the items belonged to the store.
In opening arguments, the defense has already admitted that Brittany Norwood "lost it" when she killed Murray that night. But the prosecution is attempting to prove the murder was more than an act of passion.
If the prosecution can prove premeditation, Norwood could be convicted of first-degree murder, which could carry a sentence of life in prison without parole.