Maryland Police Make Arrest in Boutique Athletic Shop Killing
Police arrest dead woman's co-worker who said she was beaten, raped.
March 18, 2011 -- A woman who claimed to be victimized during an attack last weekend at a Lululemon Athletica store in Bethesda, Md., that left her co-worker dead has now been charged with murder, police said today.
Store employee Brittany Norwood, 27, was discovered tied and beaten alongside the body of Jayna Murray, 30, who was killed last Friday at the high-end athletic boutique where she worked, police said.
Montgomery County Police now allege that Norwood killed Murray and inflicted wounds on herself to appear as though she were a victim.
Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said statements from the woman and forensic evidence were inconsistent.
Police said they found evidence in the deceased victim's car allegedly linking Norwood to the crime.
She is scheduled to appear in court Monday.
The killing occurred after the two women closed the store Friday evening. Norwood called Murray, who had the keys to the athletic shop, saying she left her wallet in the store and needed to return, police said. Murray met her to open the store and allow her to retrieve the item.
Norwood told police that two masked men -- one 6-feet tall, the other 5-feet 3-inches -- then entered the store and proceeded to beat and rape the two women, killing Murray in the process.
The women's bound bodies were discovered in a back room of the shop the next morning when another employee arrived to open the store for business, police said.
Norwood was taken to the hospital where she underwent physical evaluation and was released days later.
Forensic evidence did not support Norwood's story that they had been raped, police said.
Witnesses at the nearby Apple store told police they heard two females arguing, police said.
Police said only two sets of footprints were found in the store. One set belonged to Norwood and the other to a size 14 shoe found in the store.
The homicide investigation is still active, and it is unclear whether someone else was in the store with Norwood and Murray.
The Lululemon company said in a statement, "We are grateful for the dedicated members of the law enforcement community who have been working diligently to solve this crime and apprehend those responsible. We also want to express our gratitude for the overwhelming expression of support and generosity from so many of you over this past week.
"Our first priority remains with the families and team members affected by this horrible tragedy and supporting them through the next stage of the recent developments."
The Washington, D.C., suburb of Bethesda was shocked by last week's killing. The Lululemon Athletica store is located along a bustling street lined with numerous shops, including an Apple store next door.
Although Bethesda is considered to be a safe community, there have been three murders in the city since the start of the year.
A reward of more than $150,000 was offered for information regarding the killing.