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Posted at 03:43 PM ET, 08/24/2011

Lululemon suspect denied having mental health issues

The trial of Brittany Norwood, accused of killing a coworker inside a Bethesda yoga shop, should proceed on schedule because defense lawyers have failed to specify why they need more time to prepare an insanity defense, prosecutors said in a motion filed this week in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Norwood herself has told investigators she didn’t suffer from mental health issues, the prosecutors noted

Postponing the trial, set to begin Oct. 24, also would put undue hardship on the victim’s family members, two of whom have potential work obligations overseas. A hearing on whether the trial should be delayed is set for Tuesday.

In a court filing of their own on Friday, Norwood’s defense attorneys said they needed more time preparing what is likely to be their defense: Norwood, 29, was not criminally responsible for the March slaying of Jayna Murray, 30, because of mental illness. Prosecutors responded on Tuesday.

“It should be noted that the defendant has specifically denied any mental health issues in her interviews with the investigating officers as well as with hospital officials she saw immediately following” the slaying, Assistant State’s Attorney Marybeth Ayres wrote in court papers.

Prosecutors said they reviewed visitor logs from the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, and determined that a doctor first visited Norwood on March 26, eight days after her arrest. The doctor returned two days later, but didn’t see her again for nearly five months, prosecutors wrote.

“The defense motions fail to explain why any of the tasks that they have specifically detailed in their motions could not have been completed in the last several months,” Ayres wrote.

The Washington Examiner reported the recent filing Tuesday night.

Preparing a mental health defense can be extremely complicated. Defense lawyers have said they want to investigate Norwood’s medical, social and educational past, and they want to interview anyone who was close to her. In this case, they also may have to explain why Norwood appeared be acting rationally in the hours before the slaying, according to legal experts.

Norwood staged her own injuries, according to police, and told investigators that two masked men slipped into the Lululemon store, attacked her and killed Murray. Prosecutors have described her “ability to lie” as “almost unparalleled.”

Murray’s family members want the trial to go on schedule. Prosecutors are requesting that Murray’s father, David Murray, be allowed to address the judge via Skype to explain why the trial should take place as scheduled.

By  |  03:43 PM ET, 08/24/2011

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