Lululemon Athletica: for most Maryland residents, this store will always possess an eerie connotation. In March 2011 the Bethesda store became home to an unsightly murder, and the investigation would turn out some even more shocking news. Brittany Norwood, co-worker of murder victim Jayna Murray, claimed to police that the murder was committed by two men dressed in black, who entered the store and attacked both Murray and herself. She even had the bruises and wounds to prove it.
Her story and the investigation, however, panned out differently. Incriminating evidence showed that Norwood was Murray’s murderer, and the story of these two male intruders was entirely fabricated. Norwood would be convicted of this crime, and the Bethesda community was presumably as stunned by this outcome at Norwood herself.
A seasoned police reporter for The Washington Post, Dan Morse visited the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in Knight Hall Tuesday evening to timeline his work on “The Yoga Store Murder,” his detailed novel on the Lululemon murder case and investigation.
Morse poured over the details of Norwood’s life and the murder itself, interviewing over 150 people involved and reading through reams of documents and Norwood’s text messages, according to The Washington Post. His book not only enlightens readers on the case, but also developed Norwood’s character, her past, and some of her previous unusual behavior.
One aspect of that horrific night that came into question was the 911 call that was not made. An audience member noted that employees in the Apple store next to Lululemon never reported the screams they heard. One employee, Morse said, claimed that they never made the connection between the screams and any violent act.
Morse even noted in the book that scientific studies have shown that the heightened presence of distractions in our lives can make us less likely to recognize signs like suspicious activities or fear-driven screams.
“These same phones that make it easy to call 911 make it so we’re like, ‘well I’ll check my e-mail,’” he said. Eventually, though, Morse boiled down the employees’ failure to report the screams as, quite simply, an unfortunate event.
‘The Yoga Store Murder’ gives an enthralling deeper look into the case and also provides a chronological timeline from before the murder to after the trial. As one of the most recent disturbing and unusual crimes in our area, the Lululemon case contains an unthinkable amount of questions and factors. The novel itself helps untangles the confusion of this investigation and, hopefully, answers some of those questions.
“Someone got hit 331 times in a yoga store. I kept saying ‘you know, how many times does that happen?’ I should write a book.”