Brittany Norwood was first looked at as a brave survivor after a brutal and “random” attack at the Lululemon Yoga store in Bethesda, MD. She has now been charged in the slaying of her co-worker. Norwood, 27, was charged in the March 11th death of her co-worker Jayna T. Murray, who was beaten and stabbed to death. Norwood had claimed that two men in ski masks had followed she and Murray in to the store, raping and beating both of them. Norwood was found beaten up and bruised inside the yoga store, but Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said that no evidence of sexual assault had been found, and that the bruises seemed to be self-inflicted. It was also later discovered that the only bloody shoeprints inside the store other than Norwood’s, were made by a pair of shoes that were for sale inside the store. Norwood planted them to support her story; a story that had local residents living in fear of being “randomly” murdered in a wealthy DC suburb.
Crime writer Christopher Beam reminds us how rare random murder actually is in saying, “Only 15 percent of homicides reported every year are committed by someone who doesn’t know the victim”. This information was gathered by the Bureau of Justice. Beam explains that there are several reasons why so many of us have the, “it could happen to anyone” mentality. He attributes part of this fear to a report done by the FBI in the 90’s, stating that half of homicides were committed by strangers. Criminology professors say that this report is flawed, and that part of this information was based on assumption because police reports did not establish a relationship between the victim and the killer, one way or another. Beam states that politicians also like to push “randomness” because it gives everyone a stake in the problem, and gives individuals the sense that they cannot protect themselves. The media also perpetuates this mentality, according to Beam, as murder seldom makes headlines unless it is “unusual” in some way.
Read about the outcome of the case here