Victim-Turned-Suspect Goes to Court in Lululemon Murder Case

Police believe a workplace dispute turned lethal at an upscale athletic store.

March 20, 2011— -- It wasn't just that some of Brittany Norwood's story didn't add up.

From the moment police entered the crime scene March 12 at the Lululemon store in Bethesda, Md., a tony Washington suburb, they say nothing she told them made sense.

"Almost none of it matched up," former FBI agent Brad Garrett said as he surveyed the scene at Lululemon, where the windows were full of flowers, notes and pictures of Jayna Murray, who police say was murdered in the store.

Police say Norwood, 27, told them that after closing up the store for the night on March 11, she and Murray, a fellow employee, returned to pick up the wallet she had fogotten at work. Two masked men followed them in, bound them, sexually assaulted them and when Murray, 30, resisted, they beat and stabbed her to death, police say Norwood told them.

But police said medical examiners found no evidence of sexual assault on either victim. Only two sets of footprints were found -- Norwood's, and one from a pair of shoes found at the scene, which police theorized Norwood used to plant false footprints.

"We were able to determine that there were only two sets of footprints at the crime scene, one belonging to Ms. Norwood another belonging to a size 14 shoe that was recovered in the store," Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said.

Police: Evidence, Reports Did Not Support Victim's Account

When Norwood was found by a store employee opening up the next morning, police say the position she was tied in, with her hands bound above her head, was suspicious to police, suggesting she might have fastened the bonds herself.

Murray's car had also been moved, and was spattered with the blood of Norwood, who police say told them her assailants ordered her to repark the car, which had been outside the store, and return in 10 minutes or be killed.

"As we began analyzing the physical evidence and looked at the medical reports, it was not supporting what Ms. Norwood had told us," Manger said.

Then workers at the Apple Computer store next door told police that on the night of the killing, they heard two women arguing.

"So as you go through a list of 14, 16 or 18 things the victim told you, you can draw a line almost through every one of them," Garrett said.

Suspect Charged With First-Degree Murder, Expected in Court Monday

There was one other thing. Police say Norwood's wounds were superficial, while Murray's were deep and penetrating. The crime scene was sprayed with blood, which Garrett said suggests an act carried out in intense rage.

"That's a personal homicide," Garrett said. "That's a close stabbing, blunt force trauma. She was angry. Majorly angry. This isn't like, 'Oh, I am upset and I'm going to kill you.' This was personal."

Deborah Norris, who owns a health store, The Mindfulness Center, where Murray was a client, hosted a vigil for her.

"Jayna was a beautiful person," Norris said. "She was full of vivacity and life and vitality. She was full of fun."

Police were at first stymied for a motive, but now they say they believe it was a workplace dispute that turned lethal, possibly after Murray accused Norwood of stealing from the store.

A college soccer teammate of Norwood's at the State University of New York at Stony Brook said some of her classmates said Norwood, the team's defensive most valuable player in 2003, had a penchant for theft.

"I would never characterize her as a psychopath," said Megan Healey, an anchor at ABC affiliate WHTM in Harrisburg, Pa. "However, other girls that had known her longer than me had told me things like watch your locker. Keep it locked. She's been known to steal things."

Norwood, who is charged with first-degree murder, faces a Monday court appearance.

Law enforcement experts say police will be combing through her past, asking whether anything like the scene at Lululemon has ever happened to anyone else around her.