Jury deliberations resume in trial of Nathaniel Fujita, accused of murdering ex-girlfriend in Wayland
WOBURN - Jurors began their second day of deliberations Thursday in the trial of Nathaniel Fujita, accused of first-degree murder in the slaying of his former girlfriend shortly after they graduated from Wayland High School.
Fujita, now 20, is accused of luring 18-year-old Lauren Astley to his Wayland home on July 3, 2011, telling her to park out of sight, and then battering, strangling and slashing her to death and dumping her body in a marsh.
The jury can choose among several verdicts: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, not guilty because of a lack of criminal responsibility, and not guilty.
The case was handed to the jury late Tuesday afternoon after lawyers on both sides delivered impassioned closing arguments before a packed courtroom in Middlesex Superior Court.
Fujita’s attorney, William Sullivan, has argued that Fujita, now 20, was deeply depressed, and was suffering the effects of daily marijuana use and years of football head injuries, when he slipped into a “brief psychotic episode” that left him unable to control or understand his actions during the slaying.
Prosecutors maintained that Fujita was simply enraged over his recent breakup with Astley.
During the lengthy trial, which began on Feb. 13, the prosecution called 31 witnesses. The defense called two, Fujita’s aunt and a forensic psychiatrist who interviewed him at his lawyer’s request.