Fujita Trial Live Blog: Fujita Had Small Abrasions on Hand, Knee, Thigh Night of His Arrest
Wayland man Nathaniel Fujita is facing first-degree murder charges arising from the death of Lauren Astley, also of Wayland, in 2011.
Editor's Note: Wayland Patch will post regular updates from the courtroom at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. The most recent updates will be at the top of the story with a time stamp. For more about this case and trial, see "Wayland Murder: Nathaniel Fujita Trial."
1 p.m. -- Jennifer Montgomery is a forensic scientist at the state laboratory.
She began her testimony explaining that she had conducted tests on more than 5,000 DNA samples in her career, and went on to explain brief details about DNA analysis and some basic information about DNA.
Montgomery said that in addition to her lab role, she also responds to scenes and collects evidence. She responded to Water Row on July 4, 2011.
She testified that it was her job to document evidence and obtain samples at Water Row.
McGovern showed Montgomery photos of the towel found at Water Row, which Montgomery said tested positive for blood during her preliminary test of the towel at the scene. It was then taken to the lab for further testing.
Montgomery said she conducted DNA analysis on the towel.
After leaving Water Row on July 4, Montgomery went to the Wayland Police Station to observe Astley's Jeep.
"There was an area of the car that appeared to have a clear liquid splashed on it," Montgomery said, but added that was not tested.
"On the interior of the car, I did note a red-brown stain," Montgomery said. She explained that the stain was on the map pocket of the front passenger seat and that her preliminary analysis at the scene showed positive for blood. That stain was also tested for DNA.
Montgomery also took part in the July 4 search of the Fujita house and garage.
"I did a preliminary drawing of the garage, and I noticed several blood stains in the garage," Montgomery said.
"The majority of the stain was on the floor of the garage, in the center of the garage," Montgomery said, characterizing the stain as a "pool." She continued that she also saw blood stains on the shelving units at the back of the garage.
"I saw stains on a white trash can, on a gas grill tank, on a Marshall's bag," Mongomery said. "They were all pretty much contained to the same area. In a different area than the blood pool."
Montgomery said she also found "drip stains" adjacent to the pool, which are simply stains that made from blood falling as a result of gravity.
Montgomery said she also saw several car floor mats stacked in a pile in proximity to the red-brown pool. She said that she tested one of the four mats, and it tested positive for blood. She collected the mats and sent them to the lab for further testing.
"I saw a vacuum attachment with a red-brown stain on it, some plastic sheeting and plastic bags," Montgomery said.
Montgomery looked at photos of the stains and pointed out what she meant by pool stains and drip stains to the jurors.
She said that she also tested a red-brown stain in the center console of the white Toyota Rav4 parked in the garage at the time of her search. That stain tested negative for blood.
Montgomery testified that it wasn't possible to document every stain, but that it is typical to document a representative sample and photograph the scene. That process is what happened here.
The witness said she then went into the Fujita house and, specifically, went into the laundry room.
"There was wet laundry in the washing machine and clothes in the dryer," Montgomery said. "We held up all the items and tried to look for visible staining."
Montgomery said that they didn't find any staining in the laundry, even though they looked throughout everything.
In the kitchen and breezeway, Montgomery said she worked with Trooper David Twomey to conduct the LCV tests (for more on LCV, see the Live Blog from Feb. 20) and make observations of a fingerprint in apparent blood on a doorknob.
Montgomery said she left the scene for about 30 minutes, but was called back to go to the second bedroom at the far end of the house. She was shown a plastic bag with clothing inside and some sneakers.
She testified that cuttings would have been taken from the clothing for tests at the lab.
Montgomery said the clothes "were dripping wet" and there appeared to be mud on the sweatshirts and in the pockets.
Montgomery was called to the Wayland Police Station on July 5 at about 2:20 a.m. to "process" Fujita. Montgomery said that she examined Fujita to see how he appeared.
"I observed the clothing he was wearing and a couple of injuries to his hands," Montgomery said. "I also did a preliminary screening of his hands for blood.
"I noted two small abrasions on his right hand," Montgomery said.
Montgomery said it looked like a skin injury, "a scuff."
She said she also saw abrasions on his knee and some scratches on his upper thigh.
Montgomery then looked at photos she said depicted Fujita as she observed him on the night of his arrest, pointing out some of the abrasions she mentioned.
Later that day, Montgomery said she examined a gold CRV at the Wayland Police Station.
"The exterior was dirty, but the interior was very clean," Montgomery said of the CRV. All the floor mats were missing.
Montgomery said she saw red plant material and leaves in a wheel well.
She said that she noticed some small scratches on the passenger side as well as some red-brown staining. She conducted testing and received positive tests for blood on several of the stains.
Montgomery said she found red-brown stains on the rim of the wheel and on the rear bumper.
Inside the CRV, Montgomery conducted testing on the interior door handles and found positive tests for blood on the front driver's side interior door handle.
She said she did not observe blood in the carpet or back seat of the car, but tested the area for blood and found positive tests on the rear carpeting, the rear seat and the back of the driver's seat.
"The back seat was positive, the exception being the carpet in front of the rear passenger seat," Montgomery said.
McGovern showed photos from the investigation of the CRV, which Montgomery said showed some of the blood stains she described.
On July 8, 2011, Montgomery said she did not directly participate in the search of Water Row, but she was called to transport a green locket recovered during that search to the lab.
Montgomery said she didn't participate in the second search of the Fujita home on July 12, but did process "a sample from a cardboard box and DNA."
After showing images of the cardboard box, the judge called a sidebar with counsel.
Following the sidebar, Lauriat told jurors that he expected to require their services until next week.
"We've slowed down a bit," Lauriat said. "It looks at this point like the evidence will probably close on Monday."
The case would then go to jurors on Tuesday following closing arguments and the judge's instructions to jurors that same day.
We are adjourned for the day, with the expectation of resuming testimony tomorrow at 9 a.m.
11:56 a.m. -- Testimony resumed at 11:26 a.m., after the morning recess
Marino said that she also conducted a Web browser history on the computer she was given to examine, the one with the primary profile under Nate Fujita.
Solet showed Marino a document listing the browser history from July 1, 2011, to July 4, 2011.
Marino then testified that the document showed the Web addresses visited and said the history she found showed YouTube, Trinity College and other addresses.
She also looked at a document showing Google search history captured from the Nate Fujita profile on the computer she examined. Before testimony could continue, Sullivan requested a sidebar conference.
After the conference, Marino testified about the document with the search history and said it was from the same dates as the browser history -- July 1, 2011, through July 4, 2011.
Solet directed the witness to explain an image he published, which Marino said showed a Google search results page with text in the search box.
"Does water erase fingerprints?" was entered in the Google search engine search box.
Marino continued to note that the hyperlink changes from blue to purple after a user accesses a link. On the page published for jurors, Marino said that an answer page link under the search results had been accessed.
In the upper, right-hand corner of the same search results page, Marino said that the address firstname.lastname@example.org showed that was the profile into which a user was signed in at the time of the search.
Solet concluded his questioning with that and Sullivan began his cross-examination at 11:37 a.m.
Under cross-examination, Marino testified that the search for "Does water erase fingerprints," occurred shortly after midnight on July 4.
"There was no similar questions regarding fingerprints prior to July 4, 2011?" Sullivan asked.
"That's correct," Marino stated.
Sullivan said that searches the evening of July 3, 2011, showed only YouTube and music videos.
"That's correct," Marino said.
Moving back to July 2, 2011, Marino said the search history showed Weather.com, fun things to do on the beach and some other sites.
"Nothing regarding weapons or anything like that on July 2?" Sullivan asked.
"That's correct," Marino said.
And then going back to July 1, Marino testified that searches for pro football players, Amazon.com searches and some other music videos were contained in the history.
"Again, nothing on July 1 about weapons or fingerprints or anything like that?" Sullivan asked.
"That's correct," Marino said.
"In the entire search that you did there were no inquiries regarding weapons or fingerprints ... other than July 4?" Sullivan asked.
"That's correct," Marino responded.
Sullivan than asked whether Marino looked at the computer identified as Lauren Astley's, to which the witness responded that she did.
Marino agreed when Sullivan asked whether Astley's computer contained a large number of photographs.
Sullivan than published a document showing images taken from Astley's computer.
One of the photos showed a man, not officially identified, wearing a football jersey with the No. 1 on it. Data with the image showed that it was last "touched" -- opened by a user or used by a computer program -- on June 22, 2011.
A couple of other images also showed they were accessed on June 22, 2011. The document was named, "Images of Astley, Fujita and Apparent Friends."
Another image, this one showing what appeared to be just Fujita -- again, no one was officially identified in these images -- was also last accessed on June 22, 2011.
Sullivan concluded his cross-examination with that and Jennifer Montgomery was called to the stand.
11:02 a.m. -- The prosecution's next witness was Melissa Marino, a digital evidence investigator with the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.
David Solet conducted the prosecution's questioning of the witness.
Marino said that she examines anything that can store electronic data and has been doing this particular line of work since 2004.
She performed analysis on a laptop in connection with this case. Marino said she took a "forensic image," or an exact copy of the laptop's hard drive, which includes deleted files.
Marino explained how she verifies that an exact copy has been made and then how she ensures that the evidence possibly contained on the computer remains uncorrupted.
She said she looked for a profile on the computer and found that the primary profile of the MacBookPro she examined in this case was for Nate Fujita.
Marino then testified that she pulled an email from the computer to the email address email@example.com.
She also found documents under the Nate Fujita profile that "as best she could tell," were related to strength and conditioning plans for Trinity College.
Marino then looked at a document she created that showed photos she found on the computer. She testified that four photos showed a man, she did not identify him, in athletic shorts and shirtless.
Numbers above the photos indicate when the images were created, the last time the file was touched and the last time that it was edited or changed.
She looked at one image of the shirtless man and said it showed that the last access of the image was 4:23 a.m. on July 4.
Marino then explained a screenshot from a Facebook page that she testified was taken from Nate Fujita's profile.
She also testified that the profile page being shown to the jury depicted what a user, in this case Nate Fujita, would see after he joined the group, "Have you seen Lauren Astley?"
The morning recess was called at that point. We'll be back in 15 minutes.
10:40 a.m. -- William Sullivan opened his cross-examination, returning to DeLucia's first trip to the Fujita home, during which he asked Tomo Fujita to come to the police station for further questioning.
Then turning to the first search of the Fujita home, the evening of July 4, 2011, Sullivan asked DeLucia to clarify the process.
Sullivan then asked whether the team searched the garage on July 4, and DeLucia responded that it did, but that his primary focus was in the house.
Sullivan then asked whether a "canvas" of the area had been conducted at the time of first search warrant was executed, which DeLucia responded that it was.
DeLucia said he did go into the garage and acknowledged that he saw a reddish-brown stain near the middle of the floor. He testified that he saw the stain in the light of police floodlights pointed into the garage.
Sullivan then entered into evidence the defendant's resume, which DeLucia said he spotted on the floor of the basement the night of the July 4 search.
During the second search, on July 12, DeLucia said the team located the box he testified about earlier to the left hand side of the garage, under a window.
Returning to the first search (July 4), Sullivan asked about the collection of items from the crawlspace in the defendant's bedroom. Sullivan asked about a hole in one of the sweatshirts and asked if a piece of the sweatshirt was cut out to conduct testing.
DeLucia said that he didn't know what testing had been conducted on the sweatshirt, and that he didn't remove the sweatshirts themselves, so he couldn't say whether there were any holes in them.
Sullivan then asked DeLucia what he noticed about the sweatshirt, holding up one of the sweatshirt and showing a large hole near the hood.
"You don't know if that hole was there when you examined that sweatshirt on July 4?" Sullivan asked.
DeLucia replied that he didn't notice a hole when the sweatshirt was removed.
"As the lead investigator did you find it important to look at the clothing that supposedly the victim and defendant were wearing at the time of the incident?" Sullivan asked.
DeLucia said that he wasn't sure what Sullivan was asking, but that crime scene services would have handled the evidence and he only observed it.
Turning his questioning to the timing and distance tests DeLucia said he conducted between several locations, Sullivan asked whether that type of test had been conducted from the Saba's house in Framingham to 108 W. Plain St., the defendant's house, in Wayland.
DeLucia reviewed his report from those tests and then testified that that trip was not documented in terms of time and distance.
Sullivan then turned his attention to the text messages and phone records DeLucia said he examined. Showing phone and text information on the overhead projector, Sullivan asked about a text on June 17 from Astley to Fujita followed by another text from Astley to Fujita six days later.
DeLucia agreed that there were no texts from Fujita to Astley between those times.
Then on, June 27 at 12:44 a.m., there was a text from Astley to Fujita that read "This is like the 100th time I've tried to reach. Why won't you answer?"
Fujita responded to her at 3:19 p.m. on June 27 and about 10 texts passed between the two that day.
Continuing to look at other texts, Sullivan pointed out that there were no texts between them from June 28 until July 3.
Fujita then responded to a text he received from Astley at about midnight on July 3.
Sullivan concluded his cross-examination with the text message line of questioning.
10:15 a.m. -- Judge Peter Lauriat opened the day telling jurors that he hoped to update them on the timing of the case by the end of the day's testimony.
Trooper Anthony DeLucia then returned to the stand.
Prosecutor Lisa McGovern before beginning her questioning entered two exhibits, both Verizon phone records -- one for the Fujita's home phone and one showing the defendant's cell phone; Lauren Astley's cell phone; and Beth Fujita, the defendant's mother's, cell phone.
Moving on to DeLucia's testimony, McGovern asked about the search of the Fujita home on July 4. DeLucia said he forced open the rear, downstairs door of the home by kicking it open. He said that protocol calls for police to enter with the least amount of damage when they must force entry.
McGovern then showed DeLucia images, which he identified, of various rooms in the Fujita home, including the kitchen, upstairs hallway, bathroom and the bedroom of Tomo and Beth Fujita.
DeLucia said that he directed crime scene services to photograph particular things and also seized a few items, including two laptop computers, one taken from the defendant's bedroom.
DeLucia said he searched the basement first, where he found a pair of sneakers in a zipped bag in a closet.
"They were wet, they were muddy and they had paper towels shoved in them," DeLucia said of the sneakers. A photo of the sneakers showed them to be dark gray.
Also in basement, DeLucia said, he asked crime scene services to photograph the defendant's resume, which was found among miscellaneous paperwork on the basement floor.
Moving to the defendant's bedroom, DeLucia said, the team searched through the closet and the room itself.
"In the ceiling there was what I would deem a crawlspace," DeLucia said, explaining that he had to push a wooden cover out of the way and stand on a chair to see into the crawlspace.
"I saw a pair of sneakers with brownish-red stains on them that appeared to be blood," DeLucia said.
He said he also saw a black trash bag in the crawlspace that contained, "A white T-shirt and two sweatshirts -- one a zip up and one a pullover," DeLucia continued.
A photo showed the sneakers to be dingy white or gray. Another photo of the trashbag depicted a gray sweatshirt poking out of the bag; the sweatshirt showed a brownish-red stain that DeLucia said he believed to be a blood stain.
"There was mud in the pocket [of the sweatshirt]," DeLucia testified.
When the search team left, DeLucia said they secured the home by nailing the basement door shut.
After the search, DeLucia said he went to Framingham, to the Saba home, where Fujita was arrested. DeLucia watched as Fujita was led downstairs in handcuffs; subsequently, DeLucia said he helped Fujita put on a pair of shoes at the bottom of the stairs.
"He had his hands behind his back and appeared to be walking fine," DeLucia said.
DeLucia said he later reviewed phone records from the defendant's phone, Astley's phone and the defendant's mother's phone.
Then on July 12, DeLucia said they obtained a second search warrant for the Fujita home in order to look for, "An edged weapon, two phones, a set of keys and anything else," DeLucia said.
DeLucia said he once again forced entry into the basement door, at which point Tomo Fujita came out of his recording studio wearing headphones. DeLucia said he apologized and told Tomo Fujita that they had knocked, but not received a response.
Tomo Fujita was asked to leave the home as per protocol, which he did.
DeLucia said the team then conducted a second search the home and garage at 108 W. Plain St.
McGovern showed the jury photos of the Fujita garage, taken during the execution of the second search warrant. The bay doors were halfway up in one of the photos; DeLucia testified that he specifically moved the doors for the photo to show that they could be opened and closed.
Moving to the phone records, DeLucia explained that he looked at call details which show what calls take place between numbers. Text messages, DeLucia said, are not necessarily kept by phone companies and if they are it's only for a short period of time.
McGovern apologized and jumped back to the garage search. During the second search, DeLucia said the team seized a box with a blood stain on it, which was turned over to a lab for analysis.
McGovern showed photos of the cardboard box that showed reddish stains.
Now, returning to the phone records, DeLucia said that authorities can obtain text message content with a search warrant, but phone companies only keep those records for a short time.
DeLucia said that, in addition to the phone records mentioned already, DeLucia also obtained phone records for Ariel Chates, who had shared texts with Astley.
DeLucia said that he used call detail records, text message records and computer records to compile a "chronology" of events.
Additionally evidence that did not require a search warrant was turned over to police, including Astley's laptop, her pocketbook and some other items from Astley's Jeep.
Items found at Water Row, such as the shoe and the rag found on the side of the road, as well as Astley's clothing were also turned over to police.
McGovern then carried an evidence bag to the witness stand and DeLucia identified the towel found at Water Row -- "that appeared to have blood stains," according to DeLucia.
The next piece of evidence identified by DeLucia included four bungee cords that the trooper said were recovered from the Fujita garage.
DeLucia then identified the sneakers found in the basement at the Fujita home. The papertowels had been removed. They are dark gray shoes with neon yellow soles.
After McGovern entered the sneakers in evidence, Sullivan asked to speak with the judge in a sidebar conference.
Following the sidebar, McGovern showed DeLucia a pair of dirty gray sneakers that the trooper identified as those he'd found in the crawlspace accessible through the defendant's ceiling.
Next, DeLucia identified the gray zip-up sweatshirt found in the crawlspace.
The next piece of evidence DeLucia identified was the gray pullover sweatshirt also found in the crawlspace.
The white T-shirt found in the trashbag with the sweatshirts was identified next. The short-sleeve shirt appeared dirty when shown to jurors.
McGovern then showed the jurors a black bungee cord that DeLucia identified as the one found with Astley's body on Water Row. At the sight of the cord, Astley's parents quietly shook with emotion.
Next a platform shoe, recovered from the water at Water Row, was shown to jurors. The dress worn by Astley the day her body was found was next taken from an evidence bag and shown to the jurors. The spaghetti-strap animal print sundress was dirty and wrinkled.
McGovern concluded her questioning at that time.
9 a.m. -- It's another day of testimony in the Nathaniel Fujita murder trial.
We aren't quite underway yet, but will be soon.
Again today, Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne, Lauren Astley's parents are here. Also, Tomo and Beth Fujita, the defendant's parents are here.