- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2011

A D.C. woman accused of brutally killing her co-worker at a yoga clothing boutique in Bethesda has been indicted.

A Montgomery County grand jury charged 28-year-old Brittany Norwood with murder on Thursday, elevating her case to the county’s Circuit Court for planning hearings ahead of trial, a state’s attorney spokesman said.

Prosecutors say Miss Norwood severed Jayna Murray’s spinal cord and crushed her skull using objects found inside the Lululemon Athletica store on March 11. The incident shocked residents of the upscale community better known for its high-end shops and restaurants.

Police initially treated Miss Norwood as a victim, after she told police that masked men attacked and raped the women after they returned to the closed store to retrieve Ms. Norwood’s wallet.

Her story quickly began to unravel as a result of DNA evidence and Miss Norwood’s account to police that didn’t match other evidence, according to court documents.

Investigators found a box of ties that Miss Norwood apparently used to bind Murray’s feet and then her hands, pulling the ties tight with her teeth to make it look like outside intruders had left her that way.

Among inconsistencies in her story, Miss Norwood told police that the assailants let her leave the Wisconsin Avenue store to move Murray’s car but ordered her to return in 10 minutes or they would kill her, according to the court records.

State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy has said a county police officer saw a person sitting in the vehicle for about an hour and a half that night. That person, the prosecutor said, was Miss Norwood, “trying to decide what to do.”

Prosecutors said a motive for the killing may have been stolen items that Murray found in Miss Norwood’s bag.

Mr. McCarthy announced Thursday he will serve as the lead prosecutor on the case alongside Assistant State’s Attorney Marybeth Ayres.

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