by Scott MacMullan
In his new book The Yoga Store Murder: The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletica Killing, Washington Post Investigative Reporter Dan Morse presents an extremely well-researched, yet easily digestible, behind-the-scenes account of the horrific murder of Jayna Murray at Bethesda’s Lululemon Athletica store in March 2011 and the subsequent shocking investigation that ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of her coworker Brittany Norwood. Dan Morse, The Yoga Store Murder: The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletica Killing (2013).
Maryland attorneys will find Morse’s impeccable research particularly engaging as he tracks the events, investigation, and trial surrounding the infamous Lululemon Athletica murder with impressive detail: intimate details and photos of a sensational and shocking local crime, detective work, interrogations, potential issues with the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment, lies, a fascinating bloody crime scene beyond the wildest dreams of CSI writers, the political nightmare facing the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, discussion of the Bystander Effect, theft, and prostitution.
For those unfamiliar with the Lululemon murder, Brittany Norwood and her co-worker Jayna Murray closed the store at the end of their shift on March 11, 2011. The next morning, coworkers found the girls in the store: Murray had been brutally beaten, choked, and stabbed to death with 331 separate wounds on her body; Norwood was found with her hands bound, minor bloody injuries, and signs of rape. Residents were shocked to learn that such a violent attack and murder had occurred in their safe and upscale community of Bethesda, Maryland. A veteran, highly experienced autopsy technician from Baltimore City examined Murray’s body and described it as the most horrific murder he had ever seen. Detectives examined the clues left at the scene, questioned possible witnesses, and tried to piece together the events of the night. Employees of the Apple Store, which shares an adjoining wall with the Lululemon, had heard the horrifying final moments of the murder and did nothing. Initially, detectives identified two masked white men as the primary suspects, but as the detectives on the case began to piece together the events of the night, they uncovered a much more terrifying suspect.
Although Morse candidly admits that he got the jump on this story from the beginning thanks to a random coincidence, his writing is not random at all. Morse’s book is well organized and not overly lengthy. The book showcases excellent restraint and avoids becoming too detailed or dramatic. Morse masterfully organizes the book into four sections: an examination of Bethesda as the backdrop to the crime, the individual backgrounds of Norwood and Murray, the investigation, and the trial, conviction, and sentencing of the surprising killer. (Pictures of the crime scene are included.)
Buy the book and read it.