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Coworkers, Neighbors Testify In Lululemon Trial

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Eila Rab, coworker and friend of both Brittany Norwood and victim Jayna Murray. She testified Friday that she texted Murray's number to Norwoodthe night of the murder. Norwood told her she had forgotten something in the store and needed Murray to let her back in.
Jonathan Wilson
Eila Rab, coworker and friend of both Brittany Norwood and victim Jayna Murray. She testified Friday that she texted Murray's number to Norwoodthe night of the murder. Norwood told her she had forgotten something in the store and needed Murray to let her back in.

Testimony in Brittany Norwood's murder trial continues at Rockville District Court today. Norwood is charged with killing her coworker Jayna Murray inside a Lululemon yoga boutique in Bethesda in March. She first told police that she and Murray had been attacked by two masked men who broke into the store after hours.

Today the jury heard testimony from two managers at the Apple Store in Bethesda, next door to Lululemon. They each say they remember hearing two female voices arguing through the wall separating the two stores. One manager heard a voice say "talk to me, don't do this" followed by hysterical screaming, grunting, thudding and then the sound of something heavy being dragged.

Jurors also heard from coworkers who had contact with Brittany Norwood and Jayna Murray on the day of the murder. Eila Rab told the jury she counted both women as close friends, and had met Norwood for lunch, a manicure and pedicure earlier in the day. She also recounted texting Murray's cell phone number to Norwood shortly before the fatal confrontation between the two. She says Norwood told her she had forgotten something in the store and needed Murray to let her back in.

Friday was the second full day of testimony in the trial. On Thursday, the jury heard from the nurse and police officer who met Norwood when she was admitted to Suburban Hospital after being found tied up on March 12. They described the wounds they observed on Norwood, and noted several details, such as a cut on her thumb and a lack of blood in hair, which originally cast doubt on her story.

Detective Deana Mackie, who interviewed Norwood the day after the murder, also took the stand. Norwood told Mackie that she and Murray had been attacked by two men, and had tried to help Murray as they beat her to death, but couldn't. She then described how they tied her up and cut her with a knife, only to leave her there for hours.

The prosecution is trying to use the self-inflicted wounds and the elaborate cover-up as proof of a premeditated crime. They are pursuing a first-degree murder charge. The defense does not dispute that Norwood killed Murray, but argue that it happened during a horrific fight and was not premeditated.

The trial is expected to last into next week.

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