Brittany Norwood was born on May 18, 1982 in Kent, Washington and grew up in Federal Way, Washington with her parents Earl and Larkita Norwood and 8 siblings. She was an athletic child and excelled at soccer in high school, being named to the Seattle Times All-League team twice. After graduating from Decatur High School in 2000, Norwood attended Stony Brook University in New York on a soccer scholarship. Where she continued to excel as a defender on their Division 1 soccer team.
Early Life and Education
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Early Life and Education
- 0.2 Soccer Career
- 0.3 Life and Career after College
- 0.4 The Lululemon Murder
- 0.5 Aftermath and Analysis
- 1 Timeline of Events
- 2 Key People
- 3 Theories and Motives
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Sources
- Born May 18, 1982 in Kent, Washington
- Grew up in Federal Way, Washington
- One of 9 children – 4 sisters and 4 brothers
- Parents were Earl and Larkita Norwood
- Attended St. Vincent de Paul School as a child
- Played soccer from a young age
- Star defender on her club and high school soccer teams
- Named to the Seattle Times All-League Team twice in high school
- Graduated from Decatur High School in 2000
- Received a soccer scholarship to Stony Brook University in New York
- Played defense for Stony Brook’s Division 1 soccer team
- Named Defensive MVP one season at Stony Brook
- Named to the NSCAA/Adidas All Northeast Region Team in 2002
- Majored in Sociology at Stony Brook
Norwood grew up in a large, athletic family in Washington state. She excelled at soccer from a young age and was a star player on her high school and college teams. After graduating high school in 2000, Norwood moved to Long Island, New York on a soccer scholarship to attend Stony Brook University.
Norwood started playing soccer at a young age and quickly excelled at the sport. She played club soccer with Washington Premier FC growing up, where her coach Brian vanBlommestein described her as a “hard-tackling kid” who was committed and never missed practice.
In high school at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Washington, Norwood was a standout defender. She was named to the Seattle Times All-League Team twice for her skills.
After graduating high school in 2000, Norwood received a soccer scholarship to attend Stony Brook University in New York and play on their Division 1 soccer team. In college, Norwood continued to shine as a defender. Some key highlights of her college soccer career include:
- Named Defensive MVP one season
- Received All-Conference honors in 2001
- Named to the NSCAA/Adidas All Northeast Region Team in 2002
- Described by her coach as hating losing and having a strong competitive spirit
Norwood played soccer through her junior year at Stony Brook before transferring schools and moving on from competitive soccer. But during her time playing, she earned accolades and respect for her defensive skills.
Life and Career after College
After college, Norwood moved to the Washington D.C. area where she worked a variety of jobs including at a hotel and at Lululemon Athletica. Some key points about her life and career after college:
- Moved to Washington D.C. area after transferring from Stony Brook
- Lived with roommates in D.C. for several years
- Worked as a manager at a hotel near the White House
- Left hotel job to pursue dreams of opening her own gym
- Took job at Lululemon Athletica part-time while in grad school
- Enrolled in a graduate program at Johns Hopkins University to earn an MBA
Norwood was pursuing higher education and an MBA at Johns Hopkins University at the time of the murder. She was working part-time at Lululemon Athletica in Bethesda, Maryland along with pursuing her graduate studies.
The Lululemon Murder
On the evening of March 11, 2011, Norwood murdered her Lululemon coworker Jayna Murray in the back of the retail store where they worked in Bethesda, Maryland. The brutal attack was shocking given the upscale neighborhood.
Events Leading Up to the Murder
- March 11, 2011: Norwood and Murray were working the closing shift at Lululemon Athletica in Bethesda, Maryland
- Per store policy, they checked each other’s bags for stolen merchandise at the end of the night
- Murray found a pair of yoga pants in Norwood’s bag that had not been paid for
- She called the store manager to report the situation
- The manager said she would handle it the next morning
- 9:45pm: Norwood and Murray left the store after closing time
- Shortly after: Norwood called Murray, claiming she had left her wallet in the store and asking to be let back in to retrieve it
- 10:05pm: Murray and Norwood reentered the Lululemon store
Details of the Murder
- After reentering the store, Murray confronted Norwood about the unpaid merchandise
- A violent fight broke out between the two women
- Using tools from the store, Norwood brutally attacked and murdered Murray
- The medical examiner said Murray suffered over 300 wounds and had her spinal cord severed
- Norwood staged a crime scene to make it look like a robbery and sexual assault by two masked men
- She used men’s shoes to make large, bloody footprints around the store
- She also self-inflicted injuries to claim she had been attacked and sexually assaulted
The attack was premeditated and extremely violent. Prosecutors said it could have lasted up to 20 minutes as Norwood continued to inflict injuries on Murray even after she was dead.
Police Investigation and Trial
- Norwood initially told police that two masked men had attacked and sexually assaulted both women after the store closed
- She claimed not to know Murray and said they just happened to be working together
- Police were suspicious early on of Norwood’s story given inconsistencies
- Her bloody footprint was found inside of Murray’s car
- Only two sets of bloody footprints were found in the store
- Apple store employees next door heard two women arguing
- Norwood was arrested one week after the murder
- Prosecutors argued the murder was premeditated with Norwood’s cover up showing cunning and calculation
- Defense claimed there was no premeditation and Norwood “lost control”
- After a 6 day trial, Norwood was found guilty of first degree murder in January 2012
- She was sentenced to life in prison without parole
Police were initially suspicious when inconsistencies emerged in Norwood’s story about what happened. After a week-long investigation, she was arrested for Murray’s murder. Prosecutors argued Norwood had planned the attack and staged an elaborate cover-up while the defense said she “lost control” in the heat of the moment. In January 2012, a jury convicted Norwood of first degree murder.
Aftermath and Analysis
The Lululemon murder drew widespread media attention and speculation about what could have driven Norwood to commit such a violent crime. Some key questions that emerged were:
- What was the motive? The defense was not allowed to present Murray’s accusation about stolen merchandise to the jury. But prosecutors believe the fight started when Murray confronted Norwood about the stolen yoga pants in her bag.
- Was Norwood leading a double life? Reports emerged after the murder that Norwood may have been working as an escort and as a thief at Lululemon. But her family and friends found these claims unbelievable.
- Could the murder have been prevented? Lululemon employees said they had long suspected Norwood was stealing but had no proof. The company debated using hidden cameras but did not.
- Why did Norwood’s story about masked men fall apart? Police found inconsistencies in her story early on. Her bloody footprint was in Murray’s car and Apple store employees heard two women arguing.
- How did Norwood inflict over 300 wounds? Prosecutors argued the extreme violence and duration showed premeditation. But the defense said she lost control in the heat of the moment.
To this day, many questions remain about what drove Norwood to attack her coworker so viciously that night. The murder shocked the community and those who knew Norwood, who said she showed no previous signs of violence or aggression.
Timeline of Events
Below is a timeline of key events related to Brittany Norwood and the Lululemon murder case:
- May 18, 1982: Brittany Norwood born in Kent, Washington
- 2000: Graduated from Decatur High School in Federal Way, Washington
- 2000-2002: Attended Stony Brook University on soccer scholarship
- March 11, 2011: Norwood murdered coworker Jayna Murray at Lululemon Athletica store
- March 12, 2011: Murray’s body discovered in the store the next morning
- March 18, 2011: Norwood arrested for Murray’s murder
- January 27, 2012: Norwood found guilty of first degree murder
- January 27, 2012: Sentenced to life in prison without parole
Below are some of the key figures involved in Brittany Norwood’s life and the Lululemon murder case:
Brittany Norwood – The perpetrator of the crime, Norwood brutally murdered her coworker Jayna Murray on the night of March 11, 2011. She was convicted of first degree murder.
Jayna Murray – The 30-year-old victim who was murdered by her coworker Brittany Norwood at the Lululemon Athletica store where they both worked.
Earl and Larkita Norwood – Brittany Norwood’s parents. Her mother wrote to the court pleading for parole not to be taken away completely.
John McCarthy – Montgomery County State’s Attorney who prosecuted the case against Norwood.
Douglas Wood – Norwood’s defense attorney for the murder trial. He argued the murder was not premeditated.
Phyllis Murray – Jayna Murray’s mother. She asked the judge to sentence Norwood to life without parole.
Brian vanBlommestein – Norwood’s youth soccer club coach who said he was shocked by the allegations against her.
Rachel Oertli – The Lululemon manager who discovered Murray’s body and Norwood in the store the next morning.
These were some of the main people involved in the case as friends, family, prosecutors, and investigators.
Theories and Motives
Many theories emerged trying to explain what drove Norwood to murder her coworker. None have been definitively proven, but here are some of the main theories discussed:
Dispute Over Stolen Merchandise
The most common theory is that the fight started when Murray confronted Norwood about stolen merchandise she found in her bag. Prosecutors were barred from presenting this evidence to the jury, but it may have been the spark that led to the fatal confrontation.
Norwood Was Leading a Double Life
Some reports emerged that Norwood may have been working as an escort and stealing frequently from Lululemon. Friends and family found this hard to believe, but if true it could suggest darker secrets in Norwood’s life.
Perhaps there was tension or rivalry between the two women that had been building for some time. The extreme violence of the attack could suggest deep resentment on Norwood’s part.
Norwood may have had undiagnosed psychiatric problems that led to her attack of Murray. Her defense team argued she lost control, suggesting instability.
Unprovoked or Random Attack
It’s possible there was no rational motive and Norwood attacked Murray spontaneously and without provocation. But the staging of the crime scene suggests more calculation.
While the stolen merchandise argument seems most likely, the truth about motives behind the Lululemon murder may never be fully understood. The crime shocked those who knew Norwood and the community.
The 2011 Lululemon murder was a shocking and brutal crime that garnered national attention. On the surface, Brittany Norwood did not fit the profile of a violent killer. But for unknown reasons, she savagely murdered her coworker Jayna Murray that night after closing up the store.
The extreme violence of the attack, lasting possibly 20 minutes with over 300 wounds inflicted, led prosecutors to argue the murder was premeditated. But Norwood’s defense claimed she lost control in the heat of the moment. After a high profile trial, Norwood was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.
Many theories have emerged around Norwood’s motives and her personality, with some claiming she may have been living a double life. But her family and those closest to her said the brutal murder was completely out of character. The tragic case highlights how we sometimes never fully know what darkness may lurk inside a person or what triggers can lead to horrific violence.