Tuesday, December 10, 2013

THE YOGA STORE MURDER: Book on Black Brittany Norwood’s Savage, Racially Motivated Murder of White Jayna Murray in the Lululemon Athletica Store, Where They Both Worked; Washington Post Buries the Real Story

War crime victim Jayna Murray

Remorseless war criminal Brittany Norwood; her family asked for a life sentence with the chance of parole. If anyone ever deserved the needle, it was her, but instead she got life “without” (read: until) parole.

Re-posted, with a running translation, by Nicholas Stix

A tip ‘o the hate to James Fulford.

Note the racial fairy tale promoted by the writers and speakers in the following review, who speak of the racist black killer as the “girl next door.” Nowhere in this sanitized book review will you learn that Brittany Norwood was a career criminal, a prostitute, a stalker, and a person whose menacing manner had whites who knew her well, including her crime victims, terrified.

THE YOGA STORE MURDER: The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletica Killing

by Dan Morse
Reviewed by Daniel Stashower
November 29
Washington Post

‘You’re one hell of a liar, ma’am,” declared Judge Robert Greenberg during the sentencing hearing for Brittany Norwood, convicted of the shocking first-degree murder of her co-worker Jayna Murray at Bethesda’s Lululemon Athletica store in March 2011. The judge’s remark captured only a small measure of the outrage and incredulity sparked by this horrific crime, the reporting of which had by this time overrun the Beltway and captured the attention of the nation.

[That was only at the beginning, when the media assumed that Norwood was a victim. Once they learned that she was the killer, the attention stopped dead in its tracks.]

The drama began with an after-hours confrontation between Norwood and Murray, two sales clerks at the luxury yoga store, apparently triggered by Norwood’s attempt to steal a pair of yoga pants. The clash somehow escalated into a mind-numbing frenzy of violence during which Norwood bludgeoned, choked and stabbed her co-worker to death, using at least five different weapons and inflicting 331 separate wounds.

[“Confrontation”? “The clash somehow escalated”? There was no “confrontation” or “clash,” phrasing which Daniel Stashower uses to imply that there was a “fight” between Norwood and Murray. Norwood planned the killing, concocting a phony story about leaving her wallet back in the store, in order to induce her supervisor, Murray, to go back in the store after closing with Norwood, so that the racist Norwood could savagely murder her.]

Then, perhaps even more incredibly, Norwood coolly set out to cover her tracks and to present the chaos as the result of an attack by a pair of masked intruders, a scenario in which she would emerge as a victim alongside Murray. To make the ruse credible, Norwood gave herself a few minor wounds, bound her own hands and ankles, and spent all night lying in the darkened store, waiting to be discovered next to Murray’s battered corpse, having apparently endured a brutal assault.

Initially, at least, the deception worked. “As a news story,” Dan Morse writes in this detailed new account of the case, “it had all the elements that the media and public craved: innocent female victims, madmen on the loose, an unfolding mystery in a place that was supposed to be so perfect.” From the earliest moments of the investigation, however, Montgomery County police detectives noticed that certain aspects of the story didn’t add up. As Morse relates, the investigators proceeded with deliberate caution, recognizing that if their suspicions were correct, they would soon be caught in a charged and difficult situation [because the killer was a black woman]. “You’ve got to get this right,” declared State’s Attorney John McCarthy at one stage. “This is a hell of an allegation to make against somebody the [black] community has embraced as a victim.”

Soon enough, the weight of the evidence could no longer be denied. When the police finally arrested Norwood, the Washington community struggled to accept that this “always happy, always smiling” young woman, who dreamed of owning her own gym one day, might actually be the villain. [“This ‘always happy, always smiling’ young woman, who dreamed of owning her own gym one day”? Norwood’s former soccer teammates at SUNY Stony Brook, whose property she had routinely stolen, spoke of how menacing the career criminal had been.] Assistant State’s Attorney Marybeth Ayres captured some of the community’s [which “community”: The black community?] conflicted feelings in a statement at Norwood’s trial: “As humans, we want to believe it’s the masked men. We want that. That makes us feel better. You don’t want to believe that it’s the articulate, educated, attractive [black] girl next door. [She was not a girl-next-door type.] You don’t want to believe that, because that’s someone you might trust.” For some, the crime conjured up memories of the notorious Beltway sniper killings of 2002, but with a particularly heartrending twist. “This isn’t two clowns from out of town,” as one local remarked. “It’s the [black] girl down the street.”

Morse is a Washington Post police reporter who covered the Lululemon murder as it unfolded in 2011, and he brings a journalist’s instincts to this moment-by-moment chronicle. He’s done impressive research, interviewing more than 150 people, poring over reams of transcripts and documentary records, and even wading through Norwood’s text messages — all 11,000 of them. The legwork pays off in a convincing portrait of Montgomery County law enforcement professionals pulling together under enormous pressure to crack the case. In particular, Detectives Jim Drewry and Dimitry Ruvin, who were among the first on the scene, are singled out for their dedication and compassion. Much of the police work is old-fashioned and low-tech, but all the more impressive for its brass-tacks ingenuity. At one point, while trying to re-create some unusual marks found at the crime scene, shoe-print expert David McGill dips an old pair of sneaker laces in sheep’s blood and walks along a trail of white paper. It’s a far cry from “CSI: Bethesda,” but it gets results.

Morse also presents an effective portrait of the two families whose lives were destroyed by the crime. [Moral equivalence alert! Only one family’s “lives were destroyed by the crime.”] It speaks volumes when Jayna Murray’s mother, walking through her murdered daughter’s apartment, can’t bring herself to throw away an empty can of Diet Dr Pepper. The author gives equal sympathy to the close-knit Norwood family, caught between their horror over the crime and their unconditional love for Brittany. [The Norwoods’ horror wasn’t over the crime, but over their daughter getting caught.] At one stage Brittany’s brother Chris refuses to be caught “playing the race card” (the Norwoods are black, and the victim was white) in a drama that could easily have been reduced to the dismissive shorthand of black-on-white crime. “It’s not race,” he insists, even as he struggles to make sense of the charges against his sister. “I’m not saying that.”

[Where does he get to say that? It’s not his place. Someone—the author, the reviewer, or Chris Norwood himself—has pulled a role reversal here. It is Jayna Murray’s family, friends, and anyone else who cares about her, who gets to say it was race. The only thing Brittany Norwood’s family gets to do is apologize, which I don’t recall them doing—and she certainly didn’t.]

Some readers may find their interest flagging when Morse pauses to scrape every last nugget out of his reporter’s notebook. Did we really need to know the population of the town where Murray’s mother grew up or that a medical examiner once played “all kinds of high school sports”? At times, the excess of detail slows the narrative to a crawl. Similarly, Morse occasionally reaches for easy clichés: the crime scene looks like “something out of a horror movie;” a “grizzled” detective might have come “right out of Hollywood central casting.”

But these are quibbles when weighed against the quality of Morse’s reporting. “Can anybody really figure out someone like Brittany?” Drewry asks in the final pages. [Yes, we can!] Perhaps not, but with its artful reconstruction of the crime and its aftermath, Morse’s book asks all the right questions. [If this review is any indication, I highly doubt that.]

Daniel Stashower‘s most recent book is “The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War.”


The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletica Killing
By Dan Morse
Berkely True Crime. 361 pp. Paperback, $9.99

[Previously, on this racist atrocity, 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”;

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

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

“Lululemon Verdict in: Brittany Norwood Convicted of 1st-Degree Murder, for Killing Jayna Murray! Ice-Cold, Calculating Killer Faces Up to Life Until Parole”;

“Racist, Savage, Remorseless Killer Brittany Norwood Inflicted 322 Wounds on Jayna Murray, but Killer’s Family Says She Has ‘a Heart of Gold’”;

“The Murder of Jayna Murray: Killer Brittany Norwood’s Family, Friends, and Defense Attorneys Made Ludicrous Attempts to Justify Granting Her the Possibility of Parole”;

“Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger Sympathizes with Lululemon Killer Brittany Norwood & Her Mother, While Ignoring Victim Jayna Murray and Her Mom”;

“Jayna Murray Murder on ID Channel Sunday Night”;

“The Lululemon Murder: Videotapes of Police Interrogation of Brittany Norwood, the Racist, Savage Murderer of Jayna Murray Just Released!”;

The Yoga Store Murder: New Book Published on Brittany Norwood’s Savage, Racist Murder of Jayna Murray at Bethesda’s Lululemon Store”; and

“The Lululemon Murder: Racist Black Murderer-Thief Brittany Norwood was also a Prostitute, Reports (Other) Book on the Atrocity by Peter Ross Range.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Two families whose lives were destroyed by the crime."

Yes, we very often see this moral equivalency in accounts of black on white murder trials.

David In TN