Judge in Lululemon killing rules against admissibility of prosecutor's account

Brittany Norwood
Brittany Norwood

(CBS/WUSA/AP) ROCKVILLE, Md. - Jurors in the trial of a woman charged with murdering a coworker inside a Md. Yoga clothing shop may not get to hear the prosecutors' explanation of the motive behind the killing.

Brittany Norwood faces first-degree murder charges in the March 11 death of Jayna Murray in a Lululemon Athletica shop in Maryland. Norwood's lawyer admits his client killed Murray but said it happened during a fight and wasn't premeditated. 

Prosecutors, however, argue that the attack was premeditated.

According to the Washington Post, Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy will will not get to explain his version of the attack: that the two fought over merchandise Murray thought Norwood had stolen from the store. McCarthy says Norwood made a phone call to lure Murray back to the Lululemon store. The theory, pieced together from cell phone records and witness testimony, falls under the category of hearsay which is often not admissible in court, the Post reports.

"I don't know how much more hearsay it could be," Montgomery Circuit Judge Robert Greenberg told McCarthy in court Monday, the Post reports. "And I am not going to permit it."

Norwood's lawyers argue that she did not plan to murder Murray that evening. They say that when the two women began fighting, Norwood lost control and killed Murray.

These details could mean the difference between first degree murder or second degree murder, according to CBS affiliate WUSA. A first degree murder conviction carries life without parole. A second degree conviction carries the maximum penalty of 30 years, with eligibility for parole in 15 years.

Prosecutors say they plan to seek a sentence of life without parole if Norwood is convicted of first degree murder.

Complete coverage of Brittany Norwood on Crimesider