The woman who had portrayed herself as a victim in the slaying of a co-worker at a Bethesda yoga store was ordered held without bond Monday at her first court appearance.
Brittany Norwood, 28, stood motionless and expressionless throughout the 15-minute hearing. She made her appearance via video feed from the jail. Besides giving her name in a clear voice and saying she had seen the charges, Norwood did not speak.
But State’s Attorney John McCarthy was vocal about what he thought of Norwood and the crime. He called Norwood’s lies “detailed and pathological.”
“Her cunning and her ability to lie is almost unparalleled,” McCarthy said in court.
Norwood was charged late Friday with murder in the March 11 death of Jayna T. Murray, 30, who was beaten and stabbed inside the Lululemon Athletica, where they both worked..
The victim-turned-suspect was found bound and bruised, and she told detectives that two men in black ski masks and gloves raped and beat her and her fellow employee.
But it was all a lie, police now say.
The suspect’s story terrified residents and merchants in downtown Bethesda, an area of restaurants and high-end stores that has long been considered one of the safest spots in the region. Stores moved to install security cameras. Private security guards escorted workers to their cars. Average citizens began asking clothing stores if they’d sold ski masks to anyone suspicious. A reward of more than $150,000 was lined up to catch the intruders.
McCarthy said Norwood used items in the store to bludgeon Murray and the blows were too numerous to count. He presented photos to the judge to show how bad Murray’s injuries were. Her spinal cord was severed, McCarthy said.
Police believe the killing stemmed from a workplace dispute.
McCarthy said Murray had called another Lululemon employee to talk about problems with Norwood, including the possible theft of merchandise.