Detective describes arresting Nathaniel Fujita after his ex-girlfriend was found dead in Wayland marsh

WOBURN — Nathaniel Fujita was quiet and compliant when police arrested him at his aunt’s Framingham home after his former girlfriend, Lauren Astley, was found dead in a Wayland marsh, one of the main detectives in the case testified Thursday.

Fujita was asleep when police showed up at the house at 2 a.m. on July 5, 2011, said Jamie Berger, detective sergeant for the Wayland police. When they turned on the lights Fujita, wearing shorts but no shirt, woke up.

“I said, ‘Nathan, my name is Jamie Berger, I’m a detective with the Wayland police department. You’re under arrest,’’ Berger testified in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. “I asked him to put his hands behind his back.’’


Fujita, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in Astley’s death on July 3, 2011. The two had recently graduated from Wayland High School.

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. Her body was found on July 4.

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.

Berger testified that Fujita did not say anything, was compliant, and appeared to understand what the officer was saying when he was placed under arrest. He was handcuffed as part of protocol.

Berger said he had gone to the Fujitas’ home in Wayland in July 4, but Nathaniel was not there. His father, Tomo, was at home but declined to help police look for his son, Berger testified. Tomo Fujita did go back to the station to talk to officers, the detective said.

On July 8, in a search of the Water Row area, Berger discovered a green and silver locket near where Astley’s body had been found, he testified.

And in August, as police searched storm drains near where Astley’s car had been parked, they found her keys. They had a lanyard from Elon University.


“Lauren was going to be going to Elon,’’ Berger said. As he testified, her mother quietly shook with sobs.

Fujita faces charges of first-degree murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and one count of assault and battery.

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