Friend Says Fujita Lost His Temper, Acted Out at June 2011 Party

The third week of Nathaniel Fujita's murder trial began Monday with friends of Fujita and Lauren Astley, the girl he is accused of killing, on the stand.

A close friend of Lauren Astley returned to the stand Monday, where she told jurors that Nathaniel Fujita, the man now accused of killing Astley, became so upset when his ex-girlfriend wouldn't talk to him at a party that he threw his fist into a tent pole, nearly bringing the tent down on the party goers underneath.

Hannah Blahut told the jury that she saw Fujita following Astley around at that June 4, 2011, graduation party at the Blahut home and watched as Astley appeared to become frustrated with his attention, which, Blahut said, led to Fujita angrily pounding the tent pole.

"The entire tent started to shake as though it was going to fall down and about 100 people at the party grabbed the tent and tried to hold it up," Blahut said.

Under cross-examination, Blahut said she knew that Fujita had been drinking prior to coming to the party, but that she didn't witness him struggling with his coordination as a result.

Fujita's drinking came up again when his high school friend, Conor Murphy, took the stand later in the day Monday.

Murphy testified that he and Fujita were two members of a close group of guy friends that included three other guys, but, Murphy added, Fujita was sometimes a "fifth wheel" among the group.

Still, he said that the five friends spent a lot of time together, including sharing drinks in one of their family's basements before heading to the party at the Blahut's on June 4.

Defense attorney William Sullivan pressed Murphy on whether any of the close guy friends reached out to Fujita between another graduation party they all attended on June 11, 2011, and Astley's death on July 3, 2011.

Murphy testified that they called Fujita to come fishing with them at Lake Cochituate once in late June, but he thought that was the only time he saw Fujita after the June 11 party.

"You reach out to this guy that you haven't seen in a couple of weeks because you're kind of concerned," Sullivan said. "That's why you called."

Murphy replied that could have been true.

In addition to Blahut and Murphy, two other individuals took the witness stand Monday.

Alesia Venuto is related to Caroline Saba, the cousin of Fujita, by marriage. She testified about a trip to a Cape Cod beach she took with Saba and Fujita on July 2, 2011.

Additionally, Trooper Anthony DeLucia, a detective assigned to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, was on the stand when court adjourned for the day.

For a complete recap of the events of the day, see the Wayland Murder Trial Live Blog from Feb. 25.


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