Just hours after she was found bound and bloody in the bathroom of Lululemon Athletica, Brittany Norwood spoke to a detective from a hospital bed.
Norwood, accused of murdering her co-worker Jayna Murray then staging an elaborate cover-up, spoke softly as she asked the detective: “Can you tell me how my friend is doing?”
Jurors on Thursday heard Norwood’s own words in an audio tape played in court of one of her first interviews with police. The night before, prosecutors said, she beat and stabbed Murray inside the upscale Bethesda yoga shop. But at the time of the March 12 interview, Montgomery County homicide detective Deana Mackie testified, police thought Norwood was a victim too.
Through tears, Norwood told Mackie that two men slipped into the store and she saw one punch Murray. “He was just like hitting her repeatedly,” Norwood said.
Norwood said she was thrown to the ground, and a man told her he would slit her throat if she didn’t be quiet. The man asked her where the money was kept in the store, and dragged her around, she said. She said he raped her, using a hanger.
At some point, Norwood told Mackie, she realized there was blood in the store. “I just remember there being so much blood,” Norwood said.
In the second day of testimony at Norwood’s trial, Montgomery County prosecutors showed jurors a photo of Norwood in the hospital bed, dried blood on her face. Later Thursday an evidence technician was expected to testify.
Prosecutors said that the killing was premediated, first-degree murder. While Norwood’s defense team contends that the two women were fighting and Norwood “lost control” but didn’t set out to kill Murray.
Norwood told Mackie that she and Murray had closed the store for the night on March 11 then left. But at some point, she said, she realized she didn’t have her SmartTrip card. She called Murray, who had a key, and asked if they could meet back at the store to retrieve it.
They went back inside, then were attacked, Norwood said in the interview.
“All I could think was it was my fault,” Norwood told Mackie. “I couldn’t help her.”
Montgomery County prosecutor Marybeth Ayres asked Mackie: “Were you suspicious at all of the defendant at that time?”
Mackie had a one word answer: “No.”