In their senior year at Wayland High School, Genevieve Madelaine Flynn considered Nathaniel Fujita a friend: they hung out with the same tight group, ran track together, and he was dating her best friend, Lauren Astley.
On Wednesday, Flynn’s voice shook as she identified Fujita in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn; she wept as she remembered the last day of Astley’s life.
Astley dropped her off after a sleepover, said Flynn, and went to meet her dad before going to work. It was the last time Flynn saw her.
Fujita, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in Astley’s death on July 3, 2011. He is accused of luring 18-year-old Astley to his Wayland home and encouraging her to park out of sight, and then strangling her, slashing her throat, and dumping her body in a marsh.
Prosecutors say he was angry that she broke up with him; Fujita’s attorney William Sullivan has argued that Fujita was suffering a psychotic break when he killed Astley.
Flynn, 20, spoke softly from the stand on Wednesday, giving short answers, and several times dropped her head into her hands to cry. Fujita, who has spent much of his trial sitting straight up and showing no emotion, kept his head down throughout her testimony.
In the weeks leading up to her death, said Flynn, Astley was hanging out with other young men. Though Fujita and Astley had an on-again off-again relationship, said Flynn, they broke up in the spring of senior year and did not get back together.
In her opening statement, prosecutor Lisa McGovern said that Astley had moved on from their breakup, but Fujita had not.
In his opening statement, Sullivan said that Fujita had fallen into a bout of major depression around the time of his breakup with Astley, and stopped socializing or leaving his home in the weeks leading up to her death.
Flynn testified that she saw Fujita at parties around the time of their high school graduation in June. There was nothing inappropriate about his behavior, she said, and she saw him interacting with other people.
In a picture snapped at one party, Fujita has his arms around the shoulders of two girls, who Flynn said were part of their tight group. Fujita is grinning.
Flynn was the third person to testify on Wednesday. Anna Sharry, 19, also testified that she saw Fujita driving shirtless with his windows down and music blasting on Route 27 in Wayland at around 7:45 p.m. the night that Astley was killed.
Prosecutors allege that was right after he dumped Astley’s body in a marsh off Water Row in Wayland.
Fujita did not look at her as she drove past him, Sharry said.
“I didn’t really notice any expression, just kind of focused,” she said.
In earlier testimony, a State Police trooper said that when police searched Fujita’s home in the days following Astley's slaying they found what appeared to be bloodstains in the kitchen and bathroom, as well as a reddish brown stain on the floor of the garage.
Trooper David Twomey said he took photos and video at the Water Row area when Astley’s body was removed and saw a gaping slash mark on her neck. He was also present during the search of the Fujita family home in the days after the slaying.
Twomey testified seeing a reddish brown stain on the floor of the garage, where police also found bungee cords and a white garbage can with reddish brown spots. A “reddish brown substance” was also found on a rear window of a gold Honda Civic that was registered to the Fujita family, Twomey said.
There was blood on the floor and sink of the kitchen and in the tub of sink in an upstairs bathroom, Twomey said. Several liquor bottles and beer cans were found in Fujita’s bedroom, the trooper said.
Fujita faces charges of first-degree murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and one count of assault and battery.
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.