The plan that Norwood formed — as detailed in court Monday by Montgomery County’s top prosecutor — involved planted evidence, phony injuries and a pathological series of hundreds of fabrications.
“Her cunning and her ability to lie is almost unparalleled,” John McCarthy told District Court Judge Gary Everngam, saying that Norwood, 28, should be held without bail until she is tried.
McCarthy said the attack in the store occurred after closing March 11, shortly after Murray reported to a manager that she had discovered stolen store merchandise inside Norwood’s bag. Norwood bludgeoned Murray for as long as 20 minutes and struck so many blows in the same places on her body that it was difficult to determine the exact number of wounds, the prosecutor said.
“The nature of this crime is shocking in terms of the level of violence,” McCarthy told the judge. “The majority of the blows were directed at [Murray’s] head. Her skull was crushed during the attack.”
Everngam agreed to hold Norwood without bond. No trial date had been set.
Making her first court appearance, Norwood was shown through a video feed from the jail. She said her name and answered yes when Everngam asked whether she had read the charges against her. For 15 minutes, she stood expressionless, her arms folded across a stand positioned in front of her.
A review of public records available online in Norwood’s previous places of residence on Monday turned up no criminal past. McCarthy said he was unaware of one. Friends of the suspect said that descriptions of such a violent attack stunned them.
But law enforcement officials said they had heard from past acquaintances of Norwood’s who said she had a reputation as a thief. Two friends from Stony Brook University, where Norwood studied sociology and played soccer, said the same thing in interviews.
“She was my best friend in college. We had a falling-out because the girl was like a klepto,” said Leanna Yust, a former soccer teammate of Norwood’s.
Yust said that Norwood stole money and a designer shirt from her.
Both classmates said Norwood also could be fun to hang out with. “She could be so sweet, so funny. Amazing soccer player,” Yust said.
Norwood attended the university’s College of Arts and Science from 2000 to 2004 but did not receive a degree, a school spokeswoman said.
She previously worked at the Willard InterContinental Hotel and a Lululemon Athletica store in the District, said sources with knowledge of the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Norwood had recently transferred to the Bethesda Lululemon store, the sources said.