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Police eventually learned the man had been hospitalized, claiming to be in a fight, and went to visit him at Washington Adventist Hospital, thinking they possibly had their guy. After meeting the man, who said he was homeless and schizophrenic, “he seemed like an unlikely suspect,” Detective Ruvin said.

During additional testimony Monday, a blood-spatter analyst said that blood patterning in the narrow back hallway where Murray’s body was found is “fairly typical of a severe beating.”

“Most of the blows to Murray’s head came after she was already on the ground,” said analyst William Vosburgh.

While jurors were out of the Rockville courtroom, prosecutors argued to include additional evidence in the case, previously denied by the judge, including information they thought would establish a motive in the slaying.

Prosecutors previously said the fight between the two women touched off when Murray questioned whether Ms. Norwood had stolen a pair of yoga pants from the store.

“We felt it was relevant,” State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

However, Judge Robert A. Greenberg again decided to exclude that information from the trial. He also decided jurors would not hear about DNA from semen found on Ms. Norwood.