The Washington Post

Inside the courtroom: The words hanging over the Lululemon trial

“I believe she was alive for all of them.”

Mary Ripple, a state medical examiner, said that. She had just taken the witness stand in the Lululemon murder trial. She had testified that Jayna Murray sustained “at least” 331 injuries — brain bruising, stab wounds, chipped teeth, a severe trauma to the base of the brain.

“I believe she was alive for all of them.”

There are moments in any trial that hit hard and linger, and in this horrific trial, Ripple’s statement was perhaps the most chilling. I heard several gasps in the large audience. The idea that Murray was alive for all of her injuries is both deeply disturbing and potentially crucial to the prosecution, which is trying to prove that Brittany Norwood killed with cunning and determined premeditation.

Murray’s family was not in the courtroom to hear Ripple’s assessment. Just before Ripple took the stand, after consulting with prosecutor John McCarthy, the family walked out, standing in the hallway with red eyes and somber faces. Norwood’s mother left the courtroom as well, leaving behind her husband, who mostly stared at the ground.

As for Norwood, she showed no emotion or expression to hearing these words: “I believe she was alive for all of them.” She stared down at a table, as she has done most of the trial. No response at all. Nothing.


Prosecutor: Murray endured 300 wounds before dying

Photos: The trial of Brittany Norwood

Infographic: What authorities say happened at Lululemon

Dvorak: What’s scarier: Slaying or do-nothing bystanders?

Jurors hear Lululemon worker describe fake attack

Defense: Norwood 'lost control'

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.


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