BETHESDA, Md. (WJZ)– Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the trial of the Montgomery County woman accused of murdering her co-worker, and then creating an elaborate cover-up.
Derek Valcourt has the case against Brittany Norwood.
Defense attorneys missed the deadline to pursue an insanity defense. Now they head into trial with the evidence stacked against them.
The March murder of Jayna Murray, 30, inside Bethesda’s upscale Lululemon clothing boutique not only devastated her family but frightened the community after her co-worker– Brittany Norwood– told police they were both attacked and sexually assaulted by two masked men. Days later, police called Murray’s parents about an arrest.
“And my immediate reaction was, ‘Thank God,'” Murray’s mother said.”Then when he said who it was, it was incomprehensible.”
“It was baffling, just stunning,” Murray’s father said.
Norwood’s story of masked men was all a lie according to police who believe Norwood attacked her co-worker after Murray accused her of stealing clothing from the Lululemon store.
“Why would you murder someone over Lululemon clothes?” Murray’s mother asked.
Accusations of theft are not new to Norwood. A college soccer teammate says Norwood had a reputation for stealing.
“Allegation after allegation after allegation, it made you start to think, ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t give this person the benefit of the doubt anymore,'” Meagan Healey said.
Prosecutors plan to show jurors DNA evidence and incriminating recorded statements Norwood made to detectives and her own family members.
“If the evidence is very, very strong for the state as it appears, then her only hope, I would think, would be if she’s found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity,” legal expert Byron Warnken said.
But defense attorney have already passed the deadline to file for an insanity defense. Meaning Murray’s parents will soon come face-to-face with Norwood and her family at trial.
“It’s horrible for us, it can’t be easy for them,” Murray’s mother said. “Of all of the steps of grieving, I have yet to leave anger. I think if I had a chance to say something to her it would be one word– why?”
So far, the defense team has not spoken about their strategy. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Norwood without the possibility of parole.
The trial is expected to last eight days.