Does a Lack of Social Mobility Figure in as Motive in Yoga Shop Murder?


True, Brittany Norwood did it, stabbing, cutting, beating, and choking Lululemon Athletica store manager, Jayna Murray, 331 times. And yes, it was very easy for the jurors to convict Norwood of first-degree murder, and so they did. Another aspect of the prosecutor’s (John McCarthy) closing argument, that strikes me with a pungent jab of persuasion, is the monumental scope of premeditation utilized by Brittany in carrying out this brutal crime against her manager.

With all of yesterday’s extensive news coverage on the finale of a trial that has especially impacted the Washington DC area, (after all is said and done), there still isn’t any mention of what Brittany Norwood’s real motive was. I believed Douglas Woods, Brittany’s defense attorney, when he told WUSA 9 that the flimsy motive of covering up getting caught with shoplifting (by Jayna), just will not account for such high levels of premeditation.

jayna murray

The way she lured her back to the shop that evening of March 11th. The whole ball of wax, the chilling attack, that must have lasted around 16 minutes, the cover-up, the occupation of Murray’s motor vehicle (which says so much) after she killed Jayna, to gather her thoughts and fulfill the commission of the crime, and the clever prevarication of robbery and rape has an entirely different demon behind the curtain of her mind.

Okay, so let’s fudge a little. Getting caught with a pair of yoga pants triggered some unsavory mechanics in Brittany’s mind. Perhaps her anger and rage towards Jayna Murray had been building for some time. Now she would be fired! And now she could be arrested, if Jayna called the cops. Her life and career would be ruined! She’d be humiliated in the eyes of family and friends, her life is over with!


But why did Norwood steal the yoga pants in the first place? And had she ever done this sort of thing before? These would be important things to know, if we want to get at the heart of a motive. The Bethesda yoga clothing store is in an upscale shopping district and can be thought of as exuding a fashion statement with a trendy and popular social context. I’ve never been to this Bethesda shopping district before, but I’ve experienced similar templates, as such, in Dallas and Austin.

As awkward and clumsy as this sounds, I will suggest what I believe to be the real motive in this unsettling, vicious murder, that besmacks social and economic disenfranchisement and perceived despair at knowing that one (BN) will never get an opportunity for social mobility. In Brittany’s mind, she looked around at all the ‘beautiful people’ and realized she could never join them in the excessive opulence and social prestige usually associated with this class of people.

yoga shop murder tools

Her frustration and anger grows and burns hotter and hotter as she recognizes that Jayna has it all: wealth, power, prestige, physical fitness, clout, and complete dominance over a simple retail clerk, that has little future and virtually no possibility of mobility within a growing company, that has it all, in terms of the frenzied fitness fad that is an ubiquitous feature of our high-tech, vegan-saturated, contemporary trendsetting, buzz-culture.

One can’t imagine the scope of this rage inside poor, depraved Ms Norwood, unless they were a CI on the scene, March 12th at Lululemon. Then too, an artist’s rendering of the devastation takes us into the quiet retail space before any eager customers came by to shop. Since no one else dared to sketch out motive, I took the leap for them. Brittany wanted what Jayna had already, so she eliminated her so she could replace her.

*(Sources: The Washington Post,,, and