WAMU 88.5 : News

Brittany Norwood Sentenced To Life Without Parole

Play associated audio

Former yoga shop employee turned convicted murderer, Brittany Norwood, 29, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The ruling was handed down Friday evening in Montgomery County District Court after several emotional hours of testimony from Murray’s father, mother, two brothers and sisters-in-law, plus a friend she met as an undergraduate student at George Washington University.

The victim’s father David Murray was the first to testify. He showed a photo slideshow on a large screen projector from his daughter’s childhood – including baby photos and a christening gown. He also played a bungee jumping video from Jayna’s 30th birthday – her last birthday alive – in his plea to the judge to sentence Norwood to life without parole.

Before the conviction, the family refused to accept a plea deal that could have prevented a trial and the gory details about Jayna’s killing from becoming public.

"We did it for Jayna, in order to give her peace," says Murray's father. "In order to celebrate her life, make her life right."

In handing down the sentence, Judge Robert Greenberg told the Rockville, Md. courtroom that several times during the trial he shook his head in "amazement and disgust" with the crime Norwood committed.

Last November, she was found guilty of first degree murder after stabbing and beating her Lululemon store co-worker to death using eight different weapons and delivering more than 300 blows to her head, neck and body.

"Once you started the assault, you reveled in the gore," says Judge Greenberg. Greenberg said he went home during the trial and beat his fist against a table 300 times just to see how it would feel. "You mutilated this woman and after every blow you had a chance to stop and think about what you were doing."

The judge said it was one of the most sadistic murder cases he’s heard of in 50 years.

During the trial Norwood had showed no emotion. But on Friday she entered the sentencing hearing -- five minutes late -- in tears, shaking her head and whispering in her attorney’s ear.

During the judge’s sentencing remarks, Norwood looked at him sobbing and nodding her head in acknowledgement. Moments before, she addressed the courtroom of grieving family members for the first time and said in a soft voice seemingly not of that of a killer: "I’m really sorry."

Judge Greenberg told the court that the apology was half-hearted and said he does not believe Norwood can ever be rehabilitated.

Applause, cheers and shouts of joy erupted in the courtroom from the Murray family after the sentence was read. Behind the tears of joy with the outcome, Jayna’s mother spoke of having nightmares about her daughter’s death.

"Grief is always with you. There’s always an ache in your heart for your daughter," says Phyllis Murray. “With Brittany being not allowed to walk on the streets, that is one person that as a society, we don’t have to worry about."

State’s Attorney John McCarthy insinuated during the hearing that the deadly fight between the victim and the killer broke out because a pair of stolen yoga pants.

NPR

'Game Of Thrones' Evolves On Women In Explosive Sixth Season

The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones showed a real evolution in the way the show portrays women and in the season finale, several female characters ascended to power. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Glen Weldon from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and Greta Johnsen, host of the Nerdette podcast, about the show.
NPR

In Quest For Happier Chickens, Perdue Shifts How Birds Live And Die

Perdue Farms, one of the largest poultry companies in the country, says it will change its slaughter methods and also some of its poultry houses. Animal welfare groups are cheering.
WAMU 88.5

Jonathan Rauch On How American Politics Went Insane

Party insiders and backroom deals: One author on why we need to bring back old-time politics.

WAMU 88.5

Episode 5: Why 1986 Still Matters

In 1986, a federal official issued a warning: If Metro continued to expand rapidly, the system faced a future of stark choices over maintaining existing infrastructure. Metro chose expansion. We talk to a historian about that decision. We also hear from a former Metro general manager about the following years, and from an Arlington planner about measuring how riders are responding to SafeTrack.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.