“Cold-blooded ... brutal ... calculated ... deliberate ... devious ... malicious,” the Washington Post reports, were how Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg described the actions of Brittany Norwood, a 29-year-old woman found guilty of murder in the first degree for the killing of a co-worker at a Lululemon Althletica store in Maryland. Greenberg sentenced Norwood to life in prison without the possibility of parole, a decision met with cheers and applause from a courtroom packed with 200 people, including relatives of victim Jayna Murray.
The murder was as gruesome as it was bizarre, in part for its seemingly benign location: a yoga apparel store that sells customers an aspirational lifestyle of personal fitness steeped in a vague spirituality. In March 2011, an argument erupted between the two women after store hours, when Murray had caught Norwood trying to steal a pair of yoga pants. Norwood then "bludgeoned, choked and stabbed" Murray, using an array of five weapons that caused 330 separate wounds. Norwood attempted to cover up the murder by inflicting minor wounds on herself, then binding her hands and ankles and telling police two intruders had committed the crimes. Authorities believed the story for several days before it began to unravel.
Shortly before sentencing, Norwood was permitted to address the family of the victim, who was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University at the time of her death, for the first time: “Before I go to prison,” she said, “I needed you to hear how deeply sorry I am.”
[Pictured above: The victim's parents, David Murray and Phyllis Murray, and brother, Hugh Murray, stand alongside Montgomery County States Attorney John McCarthy, far right, as he addresses the media following the ruling.]