Lululemon murder trial: Judge rules testimony from employee hearsay

An expert said Norwood repeatedly struck Jayna Murray while she was on the floor. (Court sketch)

The mother of the woman who was killed at the Lululemon store in Bethesda testified during the murder trial Tuesday, the same day that prosecutors played a video of Brittany Norwood’s final police interrogation for the jury.

The interview on Friday, March 18, took place a week after Murray was killed. She had not been arrested, but after four previous interviews, investigators had grown skeptical of her story.

Authorities say a brother and sister of Norwood reached out to detectives to say Norwood forgot to tell them something.

Norwood tells detectives a man sexually assaulted her and tied her up, but not after making her move Murray’s car.

The detective interviewing Norwood is heard asking, “Did they say why they wanted you to move the car? Because it doesn’t make sense.”

Norwood told detectives that the assailants went through her purse and found her address, and that she got blood on her hands when she was pushed onto Murray’s body.

She was asked if anyone saw her while she walked to Murray’s car with ripped pants and blood covering her hands.

A detective asks: “It is Bethesda. A black girl with blood all over her hands. What did they say?” Norwood replied: “nothing.”

Phyllis Murray, the victim’s mother, identified photographs of her slain daughter Jayna Murray during the trial Tuesday. She also identified the victim’s cell phone.

Jurors on Tuesday did not hear testimony from a third Lululemon employee who says she talked to Jayna Murray shortly before she was killed. Defense attorneys admit defendant Norwood killed Murray in March at the Bethesda store.

Lawyers say that the unnamed employee spoke to Murray on the phone about allegations that Norwood was stealing from the store minutes before she was attacked.

State's Attorney John McCarthy says the statement proves motive in the case. The judge ruled the testimony hearsay because Murray cannot testify herself.

Murray's mother will also testify Tuesday, despite objections from the defense. Prosecutors hope she will help identify Jayna's car and phone and introduce a picture into her daughter's life.

Defense attorneys believed that her testimony would be over prejudicial.

David McGill, a crime scene investigator, also told the court that he was able to identify two different sets of bloody footprints in the store.

On Monday, a blood splatter expert stunned the courtroom, saying that Murray was initially struck while she was standing, and the attack continued while she crouched. The deadliest blows came after she fell to the floor, the expert said.

An audible gasp arose from the courtroom during the expert's testimony.

Prosecutors continue to allege that Norwood's attack on Murray was premeditated. Defense attorneys for Norwood admit she killed her colleague, but that the death occurred during a fight and doesn't constitute first-degree murder.

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