- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2011

Montgomery County prosecutors will seek a life sentence without parole against the woman accused of killing her co-worker at a Bethesda yoga clothing shop.

Prosecutors this week notified defense attorneys for Brittany Norwood that they will seek the especially severe sentence, Assistant State’s Attorney Marybeth Ayres said Friday.

Miss Norwood, 28, has been charged with first-degree murder in the March death of Jayna Murray inside the Lululemon Athletica shop in Bethesda. Her trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 24.

Prosecutors say Miss Norwood killed Murray shortly after the two closed the store for the night and got into a dispute over suspected stolen merchandise that Murray had found in Miss Norwood’s bag.

Miss Ayres said prosecutors chose to pursue life without parole due to the gruesome nature of the crime and Miss Norwood’s efforts to cover it up. She initially told police two men had entered the store after closing and attacked she and Murray.

Life without parole is effectively Maryland’s most severe prison sentence, as state law requires an often unattainable burder of proof in capital punishment cases.

Prisoners sentenced to life with the possibility of parole may be paroled after as few as 15 years.

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