Chris Gordon, Bill Hennessy
Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Brittany Norwood, accused of killing coworker Jayna Murray at the Bethesda Row Lululemon Athletica store. (Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy.)
In court Monday, a judge told the prospective jurors the allegations: Brittany Norwood is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing Jayna Murray, a fellow employee at the Bethesda Row Lululemon Athletica store March 11.
The judge asked the first group of 149 prospective jurors if any of them heard, read or viewed any article, report or account from any source concerning this case. Only 18 said they haven’t heard about the case.
Through a long series of questions, the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys will try to pick jurors who can put aside anything they learned from news reports and be fair and impartial weighing the evidence in this trial.
Finding impartial jurors in such a high-profile murder trial is difficult, said veteran defense attorney Steven Kupferberg, who is not involved in this case.
"What you want to do is get people who will listen to your case and put aside their bias and prejudices in light of this particular crime," he said.
Norwood sat quietly in street clothes her family brought to her, her hair pulled back tight.
She is accused of premeditated murder. She pummeled and slashed Murray in an attack that lasted up to 20 minutes, prosecutors said. Norwood allegedly attacked Murray after Murray found clothing stolen from the store in Norwood’s bag. Norwood allegedly attempted to cover up the crime by inflicting cuts on herself and making up a story that they had both been attacked and raped by two masked men.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Norwood could face a possible sentence of life in prison.