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Posted at 07:46 AM ET, 08/30/2011

Judge rejected request to delay Norwood trial

A Montgomery County judge on Tuesday rejected a defense request to delay the October trial of Brittany Norwood, who is accused of killing her coworker in a Bethesda yoga store.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Robert A. Greenberg also gave the defense a Sept. 12 deadline to indicate whether they will present a so-called insanity defense. If that happens, there is a possibility the trial could be postponed.

Norwood’s lawyers had asked to have the scheduled Oct. 24 trial pushed back so they would have more time to examine her medical, social and educational history.

Prosecutors want the trial to go forward and in court filings told Greenberg that Norwood’s lawyers haven’t given detailed reasons for the delay.

In Maryland, the so-called insanity defense is known as NCR, or Not Criminally Responsible. It holds that someone with a mental disorder may lack the capacity to appreciate that certain conduct was illegal or may lack the capacity to “conform that conduct to the requirements of law,” according to statutory definitions. Norwood’s lawyers said in previous court filings that it is “likely” that Norwood, 29, will plead Not Criminally Responsible in the case.

On the morning of March 12, police were called to the Lululemon Athletica store in downtown Bethesda. They found Jayna Murray, 30, dead in the back of the store, and found Norwood in a condition where she also looked like a victim. She was tied up, “had blood covering her face, was periodically moaning and appeared to be lapsing in and out of consciousness,” prosecutor John McCarthy wrote in court papers. She also told detectives that two masked men had attacked her and Murray. As forensic evidence was compiled, detectives began to doubt Norwood’s account, and ultimately alleged that she staged her injuries after killing Murray.

Preparing a NCR defense can be extremely complicated. Norwood’s attorneys, Christopher Griffiths and Douglas Wood, have said they want to examine her medical, social and educational past, and interview those who were close to her. Prosecutors also will need enough time to form their own opinions of Norwood’s mental state.

By  |  07:46 AM ET, 08/30/2011

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