ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - An employee at an upscale yoga clothing shop killed a co-worker who found what was suspected to be stolen merchandise in her bag, then tried to conceal the crime by tying herself up and blaming the attack on two masked men, a prosecutor said Monday.
Brittany Norwood was ordered held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder after Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy described the slaying. McCarthy said Norwood, 28, spun an elaborate ruse to convince authorities that she and the dead woman, Jayna Murray, had been attacked inside the Lululemon Athletica shop in Bethesda where both worked.
"Her cunning and her ability to lie is almost unparalleled," McCarthy said of Norwood.
When Norwood was found the morning of March 12 inside the shop, she told police that she and Murray, 30, had been sexually assaulted by two masked men who came in the previous night after closing time. Norwood was found with minor scratches and other wounds, her hands and feet bound.
Police initially treated Norwood as a rape victim, offering rewards for information leading to arrests and even doing surveillance on a person of interest. But detectives concluded that neither woman had been sexually assaulted and that Norwood had staged the scene. She was arrested Friday and charged with murder and faces life in prison if convicted.
Norwood's blood was found inside Murray's car, McCarthy said. Only two sets of bloody footprints were found inside the shop, and workers at the adjacent Apple store reported hearing two women - but no men - arguing when the attack was believed to have happened. And Norwood's wounds were self-inflicted, authorities said.
"No one could have ever anticipated seven or eight days ago that we would be standing here telling you what we are telling you today," McCarthy told the judge.