When It’s Not What It Seems: The Murder at Lululemon

March 21st, 2011

On Thursday, I quickly put up a post about a community gathering in memory of Jayna Murray. A friend from Bethesda’s Mindfulness Center had asked me to put the post up, emailing me that“the women at the Mindfulness Center have been close to Jayna and all the workers at Lululemon.”

No longer. The murder victim’s co-worker, Brittany Norwood, was arrested on Friday and charged with the slaying. She’s due in Montgomery County court today.

Like so many in our community, I was horrified by this senseless tragedy and then incredibly shocked to learn that one of the “nice girls” from Lululemon may have committed this crime.   Perhaps it’s ghoulish, but I wondered what she looked like – I wondered if I had seen Brittany on Bethesda Row.   I searched for images of Brittany Norwood, and turned up two that seemed like fits, but as I tweeted Friday night, I was afraid to post the images in case I had identified the wrong person.

It turns out I hadn’t identified the wrong Brittany Norwood – biographical details since revealed by the news media, and her sad looking mug shot match the images I found of a pretty young woman partying in her FaceBook picture and a wholesome looking woman in her college soccer profile picture.

We tend not to think of women as murderers. It’s far easier to imagine brutal “masked men,” as Brittany had claimed, even when logically we know that the odds of “masked men” sneaking into a store on a well traveled street are extremely low.

I wasn’t originally going to post these photos of Brittany Norwood, but I wondered if they would stay up online. And sure enough, they’ve been removed from the websites where I found them. Facebook profile deleted. College soccer shot gone.

All the public is left with is an image of Brittany Norwood in a mug shot. An image that is what she became…but doesn’t reflect all that she was..and doesn’t remind us, like those other images do, that things are not always as they seem.

How sad.

2 Responses to “When It’s Not What It Seems: The Murder at Lululemon”

  1. Kristin on March 21, 2011 11:16 am

    Thank you for this. We all need to be reminded that even those who commit terrible offenses are still complex people rather than two dimensional symbols of evil. We can condemn an act and still remember someone’s humanity; it is, in fact, the only way to build a compassionate society.

    I have a family member who has had a lot of trouble with the law, and I can’t say I’ve ever been fond of him, but when I talk to his sister I am always reminded that he is a person who is loved.

    So thank you for preserving at least a little bit of this woman’s humanity.

  2. Lynn on March 21, 2011 1:06 pm

    Kristin, thank you for your comment. Although I must say after reading this afternoon’s news, where more of the details came out, I see her less human side.

    The thing that is so scary about this crime, in my opinion, is that she was “one of the girls” at Lululemon. I read a thread on my local parenting listserv from a mother who was freaking out because she had hired her to babysit a short time ago.

    From our earliest years on, when we read Fairy Tales, we’re conditioned to believe that the “bad people” somehow look the part: ugly, like the Wicked Witch.

    It’s not always the case.

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