Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Lululemon Trial: Rotten Apple; Computer Giant’s Employees Listened to the Murder Through a Shared Wall … and Listened … and Listened


Murder victim Jayna Murray

Grunts, screams came from behind Lululemon wall, Apple Store workers testify
By Dan Morse and Michael S. Rosenwald
October 28, 2011
Washington Post

Jayna Murray’s mother, Phyllis
Mug shot of Murray’s killer, Brittany Norwood

The Apple Store employees were closing up for the night. One of them heard strange sounds from the other side of the wall: grunts, thuds, hysterical screams.

“Talk to me. Don’t do this,” a voice said. “Talk to me. What’s going on?”

Apple employee Jana Svrzo told two managers what she'd heard, but they refused to do anything

The Crime Scene
“At that point, there was some more sounds, kind of, screams, yelps, yells,” Jana Svrzo, a manager at the Apple Store in Bethesda, said Friday, testifying on the third day of Brittany Norwood’s murder trial in the killing of her Lululemon Athletica co-worker.

The screams faded. Then Svrzo heard low, quiet tones.

“God help me,” Svrzo recalled hearing. “Please help me.”

Montgomery County prosecutors called Svrzo and her colleague, Ricardo Rios, as witnesses, hoping to establish that the March 11 killing of Jayna Murray was drawn out.

Apple store senior manager Ricardo Rios suffered no repercussions for his negligence; instead, Apple made the security guards the fall guys

The prosecutors are trying to prove that Norwood committed premeditated, first-degree murder. They say forensic evidence shows a prolonged attack: Murray suffered at least 322 wounds, and Norwood probably used an array of weapons, including a hammer, wrench, rope, knife and metal bars used to hold mannequins and merchandise.

Norwood’s attorneys concede that their client killed Murray. They are trying to show that it started as a back-and-forth fight, that Norwood snapped and that it was over quickly. In other words, they contend, the killing wasn’t willful or deliberate.

The distinction could make a big difference. In Maryland, premeditated murder carries the possibility of life with no parole. Second-degree murder carries a maximum of 30 years in prison with a chance for release after 15 years.

Douglas Wood, Norwood’s attorney, was able to establish that within six to nine minutes of the initial sounds, the Apple employees didn’t hear anything else from next door. But under Maryland law, prosecutors don’t have to establish a drawn-out planning phase for premeditated murder. It can be as short as a few seconds.

Wood also highlighted the fact that the Apple employees did not intervene, apparently to bolster his point that the attack was quick.

While cross-examining Rios, a senior manager, Wood recalled a conversation that Rios had early in the case with Detective Deana Mackie.

“I think you told Detective Mackie you just thought it was some drama going on?” Wood asked.

“Correct,” Rios said.

Wood also pushed Svrzo, suggesting the fact that she didn’t go check out the yoga store was an indication she didn’t hear anything that needed checking out.

“If someone had yelled out ‘Help!’ you would have gone to help, right?”

“It’s hard to say what I would have done,” Svrzo said.

Neither Svrzo nor Rios would comment after their testimony. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment earlier when the employees’ actions were detailed.

Svrzo said that the voice that said, “God help me,” was different than the one that said, “Talk to me. Don’t do this.”

Svrzo and others closed the Apple store about 9:30 p.m. Shortly after 10 p.m., she said, she heard noise on the other side of the wall.

It sounded like something heavy was being hit or dragged, she testified. There was some grunting and high-pitched squealing.

She went upstairs to ask Rios to come down and listen. Together, they walked closer to the wall. “We heard some screaming and yelling,” Svrzo said. “It sounded like a female voice that was, it sounded like hysterical noises, and then followed by a different female voice that was saying, ‘Talk to me. Don’t do this. Talk to me. What’s going on?’ ”

Rios’s memories weren’t as vivid. He heard a loud yell, he testified. He heard a voice say something to the effect of “What’s going on? Why won’t you tell me?” Then he heard a second, softer voice.

“All I heard was kind of like crying and muffled,” Rios said.

Under questioning from prosecutor Marybeth Ayres, Rios said a store security guard was wearing headphones. “He was inattentive to the situation,” Rios said.

[Thanks to reader-researcher RC.

Previously, at WEJB/NSU:

“Bethesda Cops: Black Yoga Store Worker Murdered White Colleague, Made Up Story about Masked Rapist-Killers, in Order to Avoid Jail for Thefts”;

“Black Bethesda Yoga Store Worker Brittany Norwood is Charged with Killing Her White Colleague, Jayna Murray: Five Videos”;

“Trial Date Set For Britanny Norwood, in Non-Hate Crime Murder in Bethesda, Maryland, lululemon athletica Store”;

“Reader Who Claims to Have Known Jayna Murray, Whose Killer Smashed Her Skull in for 20 Minutes in lululemon athletica, Has Compassion for the Killer, but None for Those Who Would Judge Her”;

“In Web Posts and Emails, Friends of Brittany Norwood, the Racist Lululemon Killer of Jayna Murray, Paint Mutually Contradictory Portraits of Norwood”;

“In 2007, Ex-Boyfriend Charged That Lululemon Murderer Brittany Norwood was Stalking Him”;

“Already in August, Lululemon Killer Brittany Norwood’s Lawyer was Playing the ‘Crazy Card’”;

“New Details in Grisly Lululemon Murder: Brittany Norwood Used at Least 4 Different Weapons to Kill Jayna Murray; Prosecutor: Crime was ‘Pre-Meditated.’”;

Lululemon Trial of Brittany Norwood, for the Murder of Jayna Murray, Day 1: The Defense is Not Using the “Crazy Card,” but the “She Lost It Card”;

“The Desperate Struggle of Jayna Murray: Lululemon Murder Victim Tried to Escape, and was Alive Through Most of the Horrific Beating Brittany Norwood Inflicted on Her, Sustaining 322 Wounds (Washington Times)”;

“Lululemon Murder Trial, Day 2: A Bloody Video, in a Tear-Filled Courtroom”;

“The Lululemon Murder Trial, Day 3: The Apple Employees Who Heard the Murder, but Did Nothing”; and

“Lululemon Trial: Is the ‘Crazy Card’ Off the Table for Jayna Murray’s Racist Killer, Brittany Norwood?”]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Texas, Brittany Norwood would have been received a Capital punishment verdict and eventually been executed. And deservedly so. I am sick of all the liberals that still cry foul when murderers are put to death - especially for heinous crimes like Ms. Norwood committed. They never seam to care about the victims and their families. Wouldn't most want the ultimate punishment if someone brutally killed their child?