Sentencing looms in Lululemon store murder, killer Brittany Norwood's family begs for mercy

The Montgomery County jury deliberated about an hour before returning the verdict against 29-year-old Brittany Norwood
1st-degree murder conviction in Lululemon yoga shop killing
Brittany Norwood, convicted of killing co-worker Jayna Murray at a Lululemon clothing store in Bethesda, Md.

(CBS) BETHESDA, Md. - Family members of Brittany Norwood, the woman convicted of murdering her co-worker at an upscale Lululemon clothing store in Bethesda last year, are begging a judge to allow  the possibility of parole, as sentencing looms Friday.

CBS Baltimore obtained the passionate letters to Judge Robert Greenburg - letters written by friends and family of Norwood. The 29-year-old was convicted in March of murdering co-worker Jayna Murray, 30, in a vicious struggle in the store where they both worked.

Police say Norwood attacked Murray when Murray confronted her about stealing merchandise. Norwood initially created an elaborate lie to cover up the crime, saying she and Murray were attacked by two men.

But evidence showed Murray endured 331 stabbing, cutting, beating and choking wounds before she died. It took a jury just one hour to find her guilty of first-degree murder.

The victim's family and the prosecutors say Norwood is beyond rehabilitation and should spend the rest of her life locked up.

"I know the trauma our family has been through. I want no other family to go through this," said Phyllis Murray, Jayna's mother.

But in the letters, Norwood's many family members ask the judge to show mercy by sentencing her to life with parole.

Her father Earl Norwood wrote to the judge saying "I know Brittany is a good person and will do everything in her power to make amends for what has happened if given a chance. I love my daughter more than words can say, and I know she is worthy of a chance."

If the judge does allow the possibility of parole, under Maryland law Norwood would have to serve at least 25 years in prison before she would be eligible.

Sentencing for Norwood is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday in Rockville, Md.

Complete coverage of the Lululemon murder case on Crimesider