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Jurors Will Visit Wayland Spots Today Relevant to Fujita Murder Trial

The trial of Nathaniel Fujita, accused of murdering Lauren Astley in 2011, will leave the courtroom Friday for a viewing of several sites in Wayland relevant to the case.

Jurors are expected to gather at Middlesex Superior Court Friday morning only briefly before they will board a bus for a trip to Wayland.

In Wayland, Prosecutor Lisa McGovern and Defense Attorney William Sullivan will explain to jurors what they are viewing as they visit sites in town important in the murder trial of Nathaniel Fujita.

Fujita, now 20, is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend and classmate Lauren Astley in July 2011, and dumping her body in a marsh near the Wayland border with Sudbury.

While the exact locations the jurors will visit have not been officially disclosed during the trial, at a hearing prior to the start of the case, the prosecution indicated that jurors would visit three locations in Wayland: The marsh where Astley's body was discovered off Water Row; the Wayland home and detached garage of Nathaniel Fujita; and Wayland Town Beach, where prosecutors say Fujita left Astley's Jeep Cherokee after killing her in his garage.

In addition, McGovern indicated at that earlier hearing that the bus carrying the jurors would travel the route the prosecution says Fujita took when he disposed of Astley's body.

Quick Recap

Friday will mark the third day of proceedings in the case (plus two days for jury selection).

On Thursday, McGovern called three employees of Shop344 to the stand to discuss the time that they worked at the Natick Mall boutique with Astley, who started working there in spring of 2011, her former manager testified.

According to the testimonies of two witnesses, Beth Fujita, the defendant's mother, came into Shop344 with her daughter, the defendant's younger sister in early June 2011.

Witnesses Maeghen Reineke and Stephanie Boudreau both said Beth Fujita appeared "distraught" during the visit and indicated that Astley looked "a little detached" and "frustrated," respectively.

A third co-worker, Alessandra Chinetti, testified that when she and Astley were working together on July 3, 2011, Astley told her that after work "she was going to talk with her ex-boyfriend and see how he's doing because she's worried about him."

Earlier in her testimony, Chinetti said that she met the defendant when he came into the store in spring 2011. Chinetti said that Astley introduced Fujita as her boyfriend at that time.

In other testimony, Thursday, Wayland Police Sgt. William Smith told the jury that he visited the Fujita home on the corner of Fuller and West Plain Street on the night of July 3, to ask whether the defendant had seen Astley, who had been reported missing.

Smith said he had a "normal" conversation with Fujita, during which he told the sergeant that Astley had come by at about 7 p.m. that night and their short conversation had been "awkward."

After Astley's body was discovered the next morning on Water Row, Smith relayed that he had been assigned to conduct surveillance on the Fujita home.

On cross-examination, Sullivan pressed Smith on how he could know whether the conversation with Fujita was "normal" given that the sergeant said he could not recall having ever met Fujita prior to that July 3 night.

For a complete recap of the second day of testimony, including that of a couple additional witnesses, see the Day 2 Live Blog. The Day 1 Life Blog recounts opening statements from both sides as well as the testimony of the first witnesses.

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Suzy's February 16, 2013 at 02:56 AM
My heart breaks for both of these families. God help them all.

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