“That day there was nothing going on between Jayna Murray and Brittany Norwood,” Mr. Wood said. “The absence of a motive is an indication it’s not premeditated. That is not a crime of motive. That is a crime of passion.”
Before the trial, prosecutors disclosed their belief that Murray confronted Norwood on March 11 over stolen merchandise. However, the judge disallowed discussion of the potential motive during the trial as hearsay.
The crime occurred after the two women closed the store for the night. Prosecutors said Norwood lured Murray back to the yoga boutique in the upscale Bethesda Row shopping center under the guise she left her wallet there, and within five minutes of returning, Norwood attacked Murray from behind with a quick blow to the back of the head.
The vicious assault drew the attention of employees at a neighboring Apple store, who testified they heard 10 minutes of shouting and grunting, as well as pleas for help — but did not call police.
“People don’t go from zero to 60 in three minutes,” prosecutor Marybeth Ayres said in closing arguments.
Prosecutors spent a good portion of the trial detailing the lengths Norwood went in order to cover her tracks.
After the murder, she staged the crime scene using items from the store so it appeared she and Murray were assaulted during a robbery. Norwood used men’s shoes to track Murray’s blood through the store, she took money from the cash registers, and she cut herself and tied herself up so she could claim she was raped.
“Is that the story of someone who is cunning? The story makes no sense,” he said of Norwood’s tale that she also left the store at the request of her attackers to move Murray’s car but did not go for help. “It’s someone who cannot figure out what to do after they have killed someone.”
“I think if you just ‘lose it’ you stick with the same weapon,” Mr. McCarthy said, discussing the multiple weapons — including a hammer, knife, merchandise peg, rope and box cutter — believed to have been used in the slaying. “There is a conscious decision to rearm because what you’re doing is not getting the job done.”
The last witness to testify in the case, deputy medical examiner Mary Ripple, said Wednesday morning that at least five weapons caused the 331 identifiable wounds she documented across Murray’s body.
Autopsy photos of Murray showed 37 cuts on her badly bruised head and face and the likely death blow — a stab wound in the back of her neck that cut through to her brain.
“That area of your brain is pretty critical to you being able to function. She wouldn’t have lived very long after that,” said Dr. Ripple, adding she believed Murray was alive for most of the blows.
“She would not have been able to have any voluntary movement to defend herself,” she said.