It took jurors less than an hour to hand down a verdict in the murder trial of Brittany Norwood, charged with killing co-worker Jayna Murray inside the Lululemon Athletica boutique in Bethesda in March.
Jurors found Norwood guilty of first degree, pre-meditated murder late last evening following 6 days of testimony. Juror Donny Knepper, standing outside the courtroom after the verdict, said he remained impartial until the very end, but ultimately, the evidence was overwhelming.
"I stayed open throughout the whole thing and I’ll be honest with you, I did not reach a conclusion until the close of evidence," he said. "What swayed everybody was the number of ferocious wounds to the head and to the face that were inflicted prior to the victim actually dying."
Medical experts testified that Murray suffered at least 330 injuries from about a half dozen weapons before she died. But it was a stab wound to the back of her head that ultimately killed her.
Knepper says it was difficult to sit through the medical examiner's testimony because of the graphic autopsy photos. "How could you say that that was anything but intending to kill her?" Knepper says.
During the trial, in police testimony that painted Norwood as a cold and calculating killer, she trembled slightly, but showed no emotion on her face.
Norwood's attorney disputes the prosecution's portrayal of his client. "I think in her actions she has shown a lot of remorse," he said after the verdict. "I think she’s been remorseful from day one about this."
Jayna Murray’s parents and brothers seemed pleased with the decision. Murray’s mother cried after the verdict was read, other relatives whispered cheers in the courtroom.
Norwood will be sentenced Jan. 27. She faces life in prison without parole.