The Truly Horrific Crime Scene Of The 2011 Lululemon Murder

On the morning of March 12, 2011, a woman named Rachel, who was tasked with opening a Lululemon in Bethesda, Maryland, expected to walk into an empty building. However, when she opened the door, she heard an unusual noise coming from the back room. As reported by Living Magazine, Rachel was concerned for her safety and walked back into the parking to ask someone for help.

A man named Ryan agreed to check the back room to find the source of the unusual noise. When he walked into the room, he was horrified to find two women who appeared to be victims of a brutal attack. One of the women was seemingly unresponsive, laying face down on the floor. Another woman, who was bound and gagged, was obviously injured but still alive. When authorities arrived on scene, they confirmed that 30-year-old Jayna Murray was dead. Forensic Tales reports law enforcement officials made a preliminary determination that her manner of death appeared to be homicide by stabbing. Further examination revealed Murray had more than 330 wounds throughout her body.

The second woman was eventually identified as 27-year-old Brittany Norwood. As reported by Crime Scene Cleanup, Norwood had several bruises and cuts, and her clothing was torn. However, as she was conscious when authorities arrived, she explained that she and Murray, who were coworkers, were attacked by two masked men after they closed the store the previous evening.

Brittany Norwood was accused of killing her coworker and staging an assault

Per The Washington Post, police said Brittany Norwood and Jayna Murray closed the Lululemon store at 9:00 p.m. on March 11. Although they had both left the store for the night, they reportedly went back inside to retrieve Norwood's wallet. Norwood said they were immediately approached by two men, who were dressed entirely in black. She also said they were wearing masks and gloves. According to Crime Scene Cleanup, Norwood said she and Murray were both beaten and raped by the masked men. Although Norwood said the men ultimately beat and stabbed Murray to death, her life was spared.

Law enforcement officials immediately launched an investigation into the brutal crime. They also conducted multiple interviews and searches of the area in their quest to find the two masked men. However, as reported by Living Magazine, they began to suspect Norwood, as her story about the attack simply did not make sense. The Washington Post reports that Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger announced there was no evidence recovered from the scene suggesting either woman was raped. Manger also said it seemed as though Norwood staged the crime scene and likely inflicted injuries on herself to cloak her involvement in Murray's murder.

Norwood was ultimately arrested and charged with Murray's murder one week after the incident occurred. Authorities said their suspicions about Norwood's involvement were confirmed with forensic and physical evidence recovered from the gruesome scene.

Jayna Murray was killed over a pair of leggins

As reported by Living Magazine, Brittany Norwood essentially killed Jayna Murray over a pair of leggings. To prevent theft, Lululemon reportedly required employees to check their co-workers' bags at the end of their shifts. On the evening Murray was killed, she checked Norwood's bag and found a pair of leggings she had not paid for. Prosecutors said Murray did not confront Norwood about the stolen leggings. However, she did plan to report the incident to management. As Norwood did not want to lose her job or face criminal charges for the theft, she hatched a plan to kill Murray and cover up the crime.

Living Magazine reports Norwood beat and stabbed her co-worker with objects she found in the back of the store. A medical examiner who testified at Norwood's murder trial revealed as many as 105 of the 331 wounds were inflicted while Murray was still alive. In addition to multiple abrasions, bruises, and cuts, Murray suffered a total of six blunt force wounds — which were deep enough to cause bleeding and bruising of the brain. She also had several stab wounds, including two on the back of her head, one on her lower back, and several on her shoulder. 

Although there were ligature marks on Murray's neck, the medical examiner concluded the fatal wound was a stab to the neck. The medical examiner said Norwood's attack on Murray was specifically brutal and left her unrecognizable.

Brittany Norwood was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

According to Living Magazine, the medical examiner said the injuries Brittany Norwood inflicted on Jayna Murray were done with a "tremendous amount of force," akin to injuries sustained during an intense car accident. Prosecutors said there was no doubt Murray was tortured and in tremendous pain. When addressing the jury, they said, "Think about how long this took. Jayna is alive through almost all of this. This was not slow. This was not painless. This woman struggled to survive."

Prosecutors argued that the attack was premeditated. However, as reported by Crime Scene Cleanup, Norwood's defense team insisted the attack occurred in the midst of a verbal argument between the two women. Prosecutors countered that the sheer number and severity of the wounds, which included crushed bones and a severed spinal cord, prove Norwood planned the assault. Per WJLA and The Washington Post, customers at an Apple store, which was next to the Lululemon store in the shopping plaza, said they heard a woman screaming, "Talk to me. Don't do this. ... What's going on? ... Oh God, please help me." However, they said they did not contact authorities because they assumed the screaming was "just drama."

Norwood's murder trial lasted six days. At the conclusion of the trial, Living Magazine reports the jury unanimously ruled that Norwood was guilty of first-degree murder. She was subsequently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.