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Wayland Murder Trial Live Blog: Jury Deliberations Begin in Fujita Trial

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."

4:10 p.m. -- The alternate jurors include one woman and two men. That means that the 12 deliberating jurors include four women and eight men.

We are recessing for the day. The jury will reconvene tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. to continue deliberations.

Patch will be back when a verdict comes in to live blog the reading of that verdict.

3:55 p.m. -- The jury left the courtroom at 3:50 p.m. The judge asked them to select a foreperson today while the attorneys and court officers organized the evidence exhibits and prepared to hand that information over to jurors.

The judge will call the jury back in shortly to direct them regarding their deliberations tomorrow, Wednesday, but he has already directed them to be back at 8:45 a.m.

3:49 p.m. -- Lauriat welcomed jurors back by thanking them for their service these past three weeks.

The jurors should select a foreperson, Lauriat instructed.

The foreperson helps organize the jurors and acts as a facilitator, Lauriat said. Additionally, the foreperson will report the verdict in open court.

The judge said he will give general instructions that apply in all criminal cases and will then give instructions relating specifically to this case.

"All of my instructions are equally important," Lauriat said.

Jurors will not have transcripts to read, but will need to rely on their "collective memories." The notes jurors were allowed to take are supposed to be an "aid" to memory and shouldn't be used to persuade other jurors, Lauriat said.

The notes will be collected and destroyed after jurors return their verdict.

The general and "fundamental principles" that apply include, the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof and the cornerstone of reasonable doubt.

That a person has been indicted of a crime, is not evidence of that person's guilt, Lauriat explained.

The government must prove "each and every element" of a particular crime, Lauriat said. If the state doesn't accomplish that, the jury must return a verdict of not guilty.

When it comes to reasonable doubt, the term is known, but is perhaps poorly understood, the judge said.

"Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond any possible doubt," Lauriat said. Even so, Lauriat continued, "It is not enough for the Commonwealth to establish a probability, even a strong probability."

Lauriat explained the roles of the attorneys, judge and jurors.

"Your role, ladies and gentlemen, is the most important role in this trial," Lauriat said. "All that matters is what you find the facts to be."

Common sense, good judgment and individual life experiences are tools jurors should use to make a decision, Lauriat said.

"You alone will determine the weight and the effect and the value of the evidence, and the credibility, that is the believability, of the witnesses," Lauriat said. "You may not speculate as to what might be or what might not be the facts."

Evidence, the judge explained, is specifically what the witnesses said during the case. It is also what the jurors saw while on the view of sites in Wayland as well as the documents, photographs, diagrams and other items submitted as evidence.

Lauriat said there are about 240 exhibits.

The judge then went on to explain what isn't evidence in the case, including the indictments, the fact that Fujita had been arrested or jailed, or the questions posed by attorneys to the witnesses, among other items.

"Consider the evidence as a whole," Lauriat said.

He then defined direct vs. circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is things a witness says he or she saw, heard or felt. Circumstantial evidence is information to which no witness can testify.

When it comes to circumstantial evidence, inferences must be reasonable and based on common sense.

The jury must determine the credibility of each witness. Jurors can choose to believe all, some or none of a witness' testimony.

Lauriat told jurors that expert witnesses are called upon to testify to both facts and opinions on "issues within the individual's expertise." Jurors are able to reject in whole or in part the expert's testimony, if they so choose.

"Expert witnesses do not decide cases, juries do," Lauriat said.

When it comes to the mental health experts in this case, jurors cannot use statements not otherwise in evidence to prove or disprove any facts in the case.

Turning to the graphic photos the jury will have as part of evidence, the judge instructed jurors that they should not make their verdict based on sympathy.

Lauriat reminded jurors that Fujita is not charged with any crimes apart from those being considered in this case. His prior conduct is to be considered only in relation to informing the nature of his relationship with Astley.

"Mr. Fujita has an absolute right not to testify since the entire burden in this case is on the Commonwealth," Lauriat said. "The fact that Mr. Fujita did not testify in this trial has nothing to do with whether he is guilty or innocent of this charge."

Moving to the instructions specific to this case, the judge told jurors that Fujita has pleaded not guilty to murder in the first degree, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

Each charge requires individual determination.

The judge explained that if the jury believes the Commonwealth has shown Fujita committed the crimes, but does not show that he had the capacity to understand his actions, "Then you must find the defendant not guilty by reason of lack of criminal responsibility."

Jurors are attentively watching the judge as he issues his instructions. In the courtroom, the benches have cleared out significantly since this morning.

If the jury returns a not guilty by reason of lack of criminal responsibility, Lauriat said, the following sentencing would occur:

"The court may order the defendant to be hospitalized for a period for 40 days for observation or examination," Lauriat said. During that period, "the district attorney ... may petition the court to have the defendant committed to a mental facility or Bridgewater State Hospital for six months."

He would then be re-evaluated until the time that the court found him no longer dangerous to himself or others.

Lauriat then described the specific charges.

Murder in the first-degree on the basis of deliberate premeditation or extreme atrocity is the first charge. The jury can convict on one or both criteria and must be unanimous in reaching its decision to the charge as a whole and the criteria of that charge.

The verdict slip the jury will fill out also features the option to convict Fujita of murder in the second degree, Lauriat said.

In considering the premeditated criteria for murder in the first degree, the jury must determine whether the defendant caused the death of Astley, whether the defendant intended to cause her death and that he killed her with deliberate premeditation.

To consider the "extreme atrocity and cruelty" element of murder in the first degree, the jury must determine whether the defendant caused the death of Astley; intended to kill her, cause grievous bodily harm or "intended to do an act which in the circumstances known to him a reasonable person would have known created a plan and strong likelihood that Astley's death would result"; and that it was committed with extreme atrocity and cruelty.

Moving to murder in the second degree, the jury must determine that the defendant caused the death; that he intended to kill Astley, cause grievous bodily harm or "intended to do an act which in the circumstances known to him a reasonable person would have known created a plan and strong likelihood that Astley's death would result."

To find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree or murder in the second degree, the jury must first agree that the Commonwealth has shown Fujita was criminally responsible.

The judge then described the criteria the jury must consider when it comes to the two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. There are four elements, including that Fujita touched Astley, that he intended to do so, that he touched her without any reason or excuse and that a dangerous weapon was used.

The jury has a verdict slip for each count -- one for the ligature and one for the sharp object.

The judge then described the criteria for assault and battery.

Lauriat then prepared to turn the case over to jurors. He reminded them that they must reach a unanimous decision on each indictment.

"All that we want is a verdict that is dictated by your logic," Lauriat said, adding that emotions cannot play into the decision.

Three alternate jurors were selected. They will not take part in the deliberations unless one of the 12 deliberating jurors is excused prior to the return of the verdict.

Assistant Court Clerk Mark Toomey drew jury seat numbers 7, 14 and 15 to serve as alternates. They will not take part in deliberations unless and until one of the 12 deliberating jurors is excused.

1:17 p.m. -- McGovern began by showing the jury the locket found at Water Row.

"This used to be on Lauren Astley's keys," McGovern said. "What mental processes were going on so that this defendant took this locket off these keys, brought the keys down to town beach, threw them in the sewer, but brought the locket and Lauren Astley's body over five miles north?

"What does that tell you about whether this was an out-of-body experience?" McGovern asked.

McGovern asked the jury to consider whether Myers' testimony was an attempt to "recast" common events in a teeanger's life -- playing football, breaking up with a girlfriend, etc. -- into a mental illness defense.

Myers only interviewed the defendant two times, McGovern said.

McGovern said that medical records don't indicate head trauma, and that Myers learned much of the information informing his assessment of Fujita was via phone calls with family members. She asked the jury to consider the believability of Myers.

"Do you believe that he adequately assessed Nathaniel Fujita for anger and jealousy toward Lauren Astley?" McGovern asked. "I suggest to you that the bias is evident."

McGovern said it was up to the jury to accept part or all of Myers' opinion. She said that jurors should consider whether he was believable.

"Whatever degree you choose to accept or reject Dr. Myers opinions, I suggest to you that your review of the evidence will not lead to you to share his opinions.

"Nathaniel Fujita had the substantive capacity to appreciate wrongfulness and he had the substantive capacity to conform his actions to the law," McGovern said.

McGovern showed the photo of blood found on the back seat of Astley's Jeep seat.

"What was he looking for? What was he doing?" McGovern said, asking about the evidence that Fujita was in the back of Astley's car the day of the murder. "You don't look for something if you're having an out-of-body experience."

McGovern said there were "dozens of examples" of goal-driven behavior.

She went on to discuss several elements of Fujita's behavior the night of the murder, pointing out he walked Astley's body 36 feet into the water of Water Row, took the shortest route home and didn't use his cell phone for the rest of the night.

"Does it tell you that this defendant did a pretty good job with the goal of hiding the evidence of his crime," McGovern said, pointing out that neither the knife nor Astley's cell phone were ever found.

McGovern said that forensic tests show the defendant cleaned up blood from the kitchen, the bathroom and his car.

"What does that tell you about his mental faculties?" McGovern said.

Fujita spoke with officers three times the night of Astley's disappearance, McGovern said.

"All three times, he's calm, cool and collected. Self-serving, self-preserving," she said.

McGovern said that Sullivan's statement that the way the crime was carried out was "absurd, and was therefore evidence of his insanity, was not credible."

"What better then to have her come to a vacant garage with nobody at home where he could commit that killing inside and then have the opportunity to put her body into his car and transport it," McGovern said.

Mary Dunne, Astley's mother, wrapped her arm around Malcolm Astley's shoulders as McGovern reminded jurors that Malcolm Astley ran into the water at Lake Cochituate looking for his daughter, after finding Astley's Jeep at the town beach, while "his only child's body" was across town tangled in vegetation.

"[Fujita] was as sane in the early evening hours of Sunday, July 3, 2011 when he killed Lauren Astley as he was at just about the same time of the evening the night before killing Lauren Astley on Saturday, July 2, when he was eating ice cream in Mashpee," McGovern said.

"Say what you will about tooth fairies or fairy godmothers, there is no psychosis fairy who magically sprinkled a temporary dose of psychosis on this defendant," McGovern said.

Fife interviewed Fujita four times, McGovern said.

"Is it your memory that she told you that this is somebody who has done what he's done," McGovern asked going on to quote Fife as saying, "I don't know how to say it other than there is no evidence of mental illness."

"When this defendant killed Lauren Astley he was driven by his own emotions, not mental illness," McGovern said.

McGovern returned to Myers' testimony that Fujita told him Astley's break up with him was "killing him" and it was "the worst possible thing" she could have been doing.

The prosecutor asked jurors to look back over the evidence and note that Astley asked Fujita why he was being "hostile."

Fujita chose the "isolation of the garage," McGovern said.

"You do not have direct evidence of whether or which both or either of those doors were down," McGovern said, suggesting that Fujita put the doors down when he killed Astley.

McGovern pointed out that Beth Fujita wasn't home and that Nathaniel Fujita knew that she would be gone for some time, so there was no reason for him to ask Astley to park down the street except to get her closer to the garage.

"How noisy is it anyway to strangle a 100-pound woman?" McGovern asked.

McGovern said that whether he planned his actions minutes or hours before, the indication is that he thought it through and armed himself with weapons "not just once, but twice."

"You know that this defendant armed himself with a knife -- a sharp knife -- and he used it," McGovern said. "Each time he used that knife, his intent to harm, his intent to kill was recorded on Lauren Astley's neck and recorded in Lauren Astley's blood."

McGovern asked the jury to consider the wounds left behind, and said that Astley's neck was a specific, lethal target.

"That reflects his deliberate premeditation and his choices," McGovern said. "Consider the care it took to deliver the shallow cuts. Consider the effort it took to inflict the gaping wound.

"This defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of killing Lauren Astley with deliberate premeditation," McGovern said, adding that he is also guilty of killing her with atrocity.

She asked the jury to picture the courtroom as the Fujita garage and pointed out that there would be blood in various places as she walked around and pointed out areas.

"What about the location of blood along the side of the car?" McGovern asked. "You can deduce logically, that this victim, Lauren Astley, was hurt many ways, in many places throughout the garage."

McGovern knelt on the floor, asking the jury to consider the abrasions on Astley's knees, held a bungee cord around her neck and asked the jury to consider all the wounds to Astley's throat.

"Was she struggling to survive?" McGovern asked from her knees. "Well, why is there a cut across her shoulder?

"It didn't take seconds for her to die -- it took at least minutes," McGovern said.

McGovern said there was no explanation for the many shallow cuts "except for the infliction of pain."

"From your common sense, you may know that killing someone close to you, propelled by ego and emotion, is hardly a foreign concept," McGovern said. "There's nothing inexplicable about what this defendant did."

What is inexplicable, McGovern continued, is what forces caused that first great blue heron that Prisciall Antion saw on July 4, 2011, to fly off too quickly and into the next clearing where Antion spotted Astley's body.

"If not for that moment of inexplicable grace, how much longer would the search for Lauren Astley have gone on? When would this horrific crime been uncovered?" McGovern asked.

"But it was uncovered. It's not a mystery," McGovern said. "The only person responsible for this crime is seated right here," McGovern said, jabbing her finger at Fujita as he flinched with each point.

"The evidence shows Lauren Astley had moved on; Nathaniel Fujita had not," McGovern said. "Lauren Astley reached out in friendship. Nathaniel Fujita responded by killing her."

Astley's death was "senseless and unnecessary," McGovern said, but the actions leading up to her death were deliberate.

"I urge you, return the only verdict true to that evidence," McGovern said. "This is not a tragedy. This is a crime. Return verdicts as they are charged and nothing less."

McGovern then went through each charge, explaining that Fujita was guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon  -- twice -- and that he is guilty first-degree murder.

"Nathaniel Fujita is guilty as charged, exactly as charged, and nothing less," McGovern said. "I urge you to return that verdict."

McGovern concluded with that at 1:15 p.m. and a lunch recess was taken. We're to resume at 1:45 p.m.

12:22 p.m. -- Sullivan began by reminding jurors that he warned them in the beginning, "This would be a difficult case."

"And I think you've seen this as the case has unfolded. The sense of loss, the sense of tragedy."

Sullivan said that the legal system established 100 years ago that people with mental illness must be handled differently in criminal cases.

"I understand that is not a popular position and it may not be something that every one of you is comfortable with ... it may bother you," Sullivan said.

He then called their attention back to their interviews during jury selection, reminding them that they were asked from the beginning whether they could make a decision with an understanding of mental health issues.

"The Commonwealth, their argument, is that Mr. Fujita killed Lauren Astley in a rage," Sullivan said, continuing to say that he told jurors from the beginning that this wasn't a traditional case in which the question was "Whodunit?"

"The whole issue, the whole three weeks we've been here, is why. Why did this happen?" Sullivan said.

Myers "put his academic reputation on the line... and told you that this defendant was not criminally responsible," Sullivan said.

He asked jurors to go back and look through three weeks of evidence and said they would see that the evidence corroborates Myers' assessment.

"You've heard his mother was concerned, his aunt was concerned, his cousin was concerned," Sullivan said. "Remember what happened in June 2011. It had reached critical mass so that the family and friends did something."

Fujita's mother took him to see a psychiatrist and went to speak with Astley at Shop344, "because she was worried," Sullivan said.

Astley herself began to reach out, Sullivan said, but Fujita didn't "reach back."

Members of the Saba family began to reach out and try to get Fujita involved as well, Sullivan said.

"He was able to go to the gym and that's pretty much it," Sullivan said.

Socially, Sullivan said, Fujita wasn't seeing his friends.

"The 'buddies' threw him to the curb," Sullivan said. "They had their own little sub phone group, they're not reaching out, they don't see him.

"The defendant is now socially isolated, he's depressed," Sullivan continued. "There's no indication during that time period that he's stalking Ms. Astley."

Sullivan said that Dr. O'Ghar's records from the June 15, 2011, visit were consistent with what Myers found in July -- symptoms of a major depressive disorder.

"Dr. Myers says the major depressive disorder is really what sets up the psychotic episode," Sullivan said. "The defendant felt outside of his body, was unable to control what he was doing, or really understand what he was doing at the time the crime occurred.

"The Commonwealth said this is a well-planned out case," Sullivan said. "That's absurd. It's absurd."

Sullivan described that the crime occurred in a garage with neighbors home nearby.

"This is the last place if someone is planning that this would occur," Sullivan said. "That's disorganized thinking."

The timing also suggests disorganized thinking, Sullivan said.

"It's 7 o'clock on a holiday weekend -- people coming up and down Fuller Street," Sullivan said. "And he's not hidden from view."

Sullivan then showed a photo of the Fujita garage to jurors.

"The place that this occurred, again disorganized thinking," Sullivan said. "Where's the preparation? There's no preparation there at all.

"The bungee cord was just a weapon of opportunity."

Sullivan said that the evidence shows it was a brief psychotic episode.

Sullivan said that the Fujita strangling Astley, then walking to the kitchen for a knife again shows disorganized thinking.

"It doesn't make any sense," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said that the blood left in the middle of the garage, knowing his parents would be home within an hour, shows disorganized thinking.

Myers also talked about the possibility of CTE.

"It does suggest that the explosivity, the impulse control, the depression ... contributed to what happened," Sullivan said.

The Commonwealth has said that Fujita knowingly committed the crime in a rage, Sullivan said.

"The problem with that is that there's no evidence of rage," Sullivan said. "Is there any indication that the defendant was acting in an angry mood? No."

Sullivan pointed to testimony from Astley's co-worker, in which it was disclosed that Astley planned to go see Fujita after work and even said that she was bored and hoped he would come by.

The family barbecue on July 3, Sullivan said, provides another example that there wasn't planning or rage. Fujita asked his cousin, Caroline Saba, to go with him to the mall at about 5:30 p.m. the evening of the murder.

"Where was the planning, where was the rage?" Sullivan asked.

Sullivan said the Commonwealth indicated that Fujita asking Astley to park down the street indicated planning.

"That car parked there is visible to virtually every other house on the street," Sullivan said, reminding jurors of their visit to the home. "There's no attempt by Nathaniel Fujita to hide that car. That doesn't suggest any planning at all."

Sullivan then said that Fujita's own computer provides evidence that he did not search for anything related to anger, rage, weapons, murder, etc. prior to the murder.

"If there's a better window into some teenage kid's soul," Sullivan said. "Web searches."

The only search occurred after the psychotic episode, Sullivan said.

Sullivan asked the jury to consider Fife's qualifications, noting that she is not certified in forensic psychiatry.

"She's not board certified, she has no specialized training in adolescence," Sullivan said. "This is not her area of expertise."

Myers gave a number of objective tests, Sullivan then said, pointing out that a key issue was whether there was malingering.

"Dr. Myers ... does the objective testing," Sullivan said. "Dr. Fife says, 'Well, I didn't feel the need to do it. I didn't feel it was necessary.'"

Continuing to discuss Fife's opinion, Sullivan pointed out that she didn't think Fujita was depressed even though Dr. O'Ghar indicated a number of criteria prior to the crime.

Sullivan returned to the night of the crime and pointed out that neighbors didn't hear any screaming or yelling, which isn't "corroborative" of the argument that Fujita was enraged.

Sullivan asked the jury to concentrate on the "subsidiary" evidence from the autopsy, specifically that Medical Examiner Henry Nields said there were no bruises.

The Commonwealth, Sullivan said, hasn't explained what caused any rage, but Myers has explained there was a psychotic episode.

"Obviously a case like this is difficult" because two doctors have presented very differing opinions, Sullivan said. "Along with just corroboration we've gone over, I'd ask you to just look at the qualifications."

Sullivan reiterated Myers' qualifications and said that Fife didn't have any experience with adolescence. He urged the jury to look to Myers for their information.

"They have to prove that Nathaniel Fujita was on July 3, criminally responsible," Sullivan said. "The Commonwealth has to prove to you beyond a moral certainty."

Sullivan said that the jury had to make a definite decision, and that "It's not enough that he probably was criminally responsible ... if it's 50/50, that's not enough."

Sullivan explained that reasonable doubt could be created by the jury not being able to decide between the two doctors.

"I understand that this is a difficult case for all of you," Sullivan said. "Because every fiber of your being probably says, 'Somebody must be convicted of this. Somebody must pay.'"

Sullivan reminded jurors that they swore to not let those feelings get in the way and that they would look at the evidence and apply the law, "in a manner that is not swayed by emotion, by sympathy or anger."

"I'm asking you to live up to what you said before that you would be able to apply the law without the sympathy, without the anger," Sullivan said. "You told us you'd be able to do that."

Calling the verdict "difficult," Sullivan said he was confident they would return the correct verdict that Fujita wasn't criminally responsible.

Sullivan concluded with that.

11:52 a.m. -- Lauriat explained to jurors that the closing arguments are important, but are not evidence.

Sullivan will begin the closing arguments.

11:28 a.m. -- Fife returned to the stand and defense attorney William Sullivan continued his cross-examination.

Sullivan began by asking Fife about whether her opinion was that Nathaniel Fujita was possibly in a dissociative state at the time of the murder, to which Fife said it was not.

"His description is consistent with a mild dissociative state," Sullivan read from Fife's report, to which Fife agreed she had written those words.

"This dissociative feeling is not the cause of the behavior, but rather the result of it, is that correct?" Sullivan asked.

"That's correct," she replied.

Sullivan asked whether there was any way to know "at what point" the defendant went into a dissociative state, and Fife said she could only rely on Fujita's own statements about his state.

Sullivan then asked whether there were any tests that could objectively test when Fujita might have entered a dissociative state, and then revisited his line of questioning yesterday about Fife not conducting any objective tests on Fujita.

"Psychological testing would not have added any information that would have been useful to me in reaching my opinions," Fife said, explaining that she believed her interviews and assessments were complete without the tests.

Fife added that mental status exams at or near the time of the crime, which were done by police officers who observed Fujita's speech and behavior, were "reliable indicators as to whether someone is in touch with reality."

"I did the evaulation in the best way that I could and determined that dissociation was not present," Fife said.

Fife said she found Fujita's reports to her during interviews to be changing in "subtle and important ways," that led her "to doubt the validity of some of his reports."

Sullivan asked Fife about watching the defense's mental health expert, Dr. Wade Myers, testify. Specifically, he asked about the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) Myers testified about.

"It would be considered repetitive mild traumatic brain injury can trigger the development of chronic traumatic encppahlopathy, is that fair to say?" Sullivan asked.

Fife said that current medical thinking does indicate that.

Sullivan pressed Fife on whether a recent study from December 2012 indicated it was repeated mild brain injury, not the kind that would necessarily require hospitalization, that could lead to CTE.

Fife said that was part of the article, but that the article also cautioned that the research is new.

Sullivan continued to ask about the four stages of CTE, including that the early stages included symptoms of "depression, explosivity and impulse control."

Fife said that Sullivan's assessment of the article was correct.

"Would it be fair to say you observed some symptoms of depression in the defendant?" Sullivan asked.

"Yes," Fife said, and then corrected her answer to say, "I did not observe in my interviews depression of the defendant" but saw reference to it in other doctors' reports.

"In my opinion, Mr. Fujita's depression was not consistent with what you see in CTE," Fife said.

Sullivan than asked about the symptoms of a brief psychotic episode.

"Those are the things you would look for to determine ... if there was a brief psychotic episode," Sullivan said. "Disorganized behavior would be one of those things you would look for?"

Fife said it was a "type of disorganized behavior," but that "killing someone" would not be considered disorganized behavior.

Sullivan referred to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and asked whether it offered examples of disorganized behavior, to which Fife replied that it offered fairly extensive examples of disorganized behavior.

He then asked Fife about psychotic depression, to which she replied that the diagnosis was a major depressive state with or without psychotic action.

"This was done out of rage," Fife said, adding that that was her opinion.

"As part of your opinion you would then go to see if there were any corroborating facts supporting this opinion?" Sullivan asked. "It would be fair to say that you didn't see any loud arguments or screaming prior to this incident?"

Fife said there were plenty of examples of rage prior to the incident, but agreed with Sullivan's assessment that no one heard anything in the vicinity of the garage where Astley was killed on July 3, 2011.

Sullivan asked Fife whether there were any injuries to Astley consistent with someone grabbing and shaking her or hitting her face.

Fife said that she knew there was a blow to the back of her head, but the other injuries Sullivan mentioned were not present.

A major depressive disorder, requires that someone has "to be depressed every day all the time, for a number of weeks," Fife testified.

Sullivan then moved on to whether there was a "suggestion of weight gain" in Fujita, a symptom of a depressive disorder, prior to July 3.

Fife then testified that Fujita also reported sleep problems.

"Another incident that is consistent with major depressive disorder," Sullivan asked.

"I think the best answer is that he reported them," Fife said.

Psycho-motor retardation, Fife said, describes someone who is slumped and very difficult to engage.

Pointing out that reports said Fujita smoked marijunana, went to the gym, went to the beach, etc., Fife said, "That's not an innvolutional depression."

Sullivan said that the DSM indicates many criteria that should be present in a person for a diagnosis of major depressive episode. Sullivan continued to point out that the DSM asks whether those criteria impair a person's social function.

Sullivan continued to list additional criteria from the DSM, such as feelings of guilt and inability to concentrate, which were noted in Dr. O'Ghar's report from his June 15, 2011, visit with Fujita.

"You feel that Dr. O'Ghar's diagnosis is incorrect?" Sullivan asked.

"I don't think he had the full benefit of the full picture of what was going on with Mr. Fujita at that time," Fife said, adding that she disagreed with the doctor's assessment.

Fife replied in the affirmative to Sullivan's question that two qualified psychiatrists can reach differing opinions on a diagnosis.

Sullivan concluded his cross with that and Prosecutor Lisa McGovern began her redirect.

McGovern showed Fife an autopsy photo and asked whether she remembered seeing bruises on Astley's chin and lip, which Fife said she did.

"What is the definition of disorganized behavior?" McGovern asked.

Fife said disorganized behavior is detailed in the DSM in paragraph form so it isn't just used as a checklist.

"Disorgaized behavior is a series of behaviors. It is behavior that is not well thought out and directed toward accomplishing something in a purposeful way. If someone is so mentally ill that their behavior is disorganized, they could be swinging at things or throwing things ... It's not a subtle finding. You don't really have to be a psychiatrist to see it."

McGovern then asked Fife why she didn't find Fujita to be suffering from a major depressive episode.

"During that period of time, leading up to July 3 and after, Mr. Fujita had -- I looked at his symptoms as reported by him and reported by others," Fife said. "Somebody presents with low mood, low concentration ... It could be depression, it could be anxiety, it could be some kind of a stressor."

Fife then said that substance abuse can cause some of the criteria of a major depressive episode and noted that a diagnosis of a major depressive disorder is not to be made in the presence of substance abuse.

Fife said that the breakup with Astley could have created a feeling of loss, which can lead to loss of sleep and other symptoms.

McGovern asked whether Fife received recordings of the defense's mental health expert's interviews with Fujita, to which she responded that she did not.

Turning to the gap between the crime and Fife's first interview with Fujita, McGovern asked, "Are you allowed to interview a defendant without a court order?"

"I am not," Fife replied, going on to say she received the court order on Oct. 23, 2012. Fife said she conducted her first interview in mid-December and reviewed reports and documentation between October and December.

McGovern asked about Fife's publication history, and Fife replied that she has published about agitation and aggression as well as violence and psychosis.

McGovern asked how important it was to spend extended time with a person in determining whether malingering is present.

"I think the amount of time a person spends with the defendant and goes over in detail and goes over every single point, every kind of second, to break it down as much as one can about the behavior at the time of the crime, just preceding, during and after ... is the really critical part of this evaluation," Fife replied.

"History is vitally important," Fife continued, and added that "If inconsistencies are found or if information is added over time ... then that is the most important thing to me in my ultimate determination of whether or not I'm being given the whole story."

McGovern asked about Fujita's taking of Zoloft, which Fife said was not a drug prescribed for psychosis, but was rather used for anxiety and depression.

Fife continued to say that she reviewed medical records both before and after Fujita took Zoloft and found his behaviors to be unchanged.

"I think it's just a sign that he's a healthy young person and working out and gaining weight as people do as they mature," Fife continued, when McGovern asked whether Fujita gaining weight while going to the gym and taking protein supplements was unusual.

McGovern concluded her questioning, and Sullivan redirected.

Sullivan asked Fife whether she requested Myers' recordings of his interviews.

Fife replied that her understanding was that there was a court order in place that directed her to not record her interviews, so she didn't think it was appropriate to ask Myers whether he had any recordings.

Sullivan then asked Fife whether she could tell the difference in the pictures from a contusion and a pressure abrasion, showing her again an autopsy photo. She said that she wasn't a medical examiner and that she understood there to be bruises under the abrasions.

Sullivan said that Fife relied on her interpretation of bruises rather than pressure contusions on Astley's face in order to reach her opinion about Fujita.

With that both sides have concluded their examinations of Fife and met with the judge in a sidebar conference. The evidence has all been presented. We'll move on to closing arguments after a short recess.

10:21 a.m. -- Judge Peter Lauriat told jurors that he expects to get through the cross-examination of Dr. Alison Fife and any additional evidence first. Next each attorney will have one hour to present closing arguments. Lauriat said he hopes to get through these things before lunch.

After lunch, the judge expects to provide the jury with its instructions and the law as it applies to this case. Three jurors will be selected at random to serve as alternates, and the case will then be turned the case over for deliberation.

District Attorney Gerry Leone is in the courtroom gallery today as is Wayland Police Chief Bob Irving.

Dr. Alison Fife returned to the stand at 10:21 a.m.

10:03 a.m. -- The courtroom is absolutely packed today. We're in recess for a few moments before the jury comes in.

There won't be room for everyone in the courtroom today, so it remains to be seen how the crowd will be handled.

9:10 a.m. -- The jury won't arrive until about 9:45 a.m. today. In the meantime, attorneys from both sides are meeting with the judge to discuss the charges and instructions that will be given to the jury when they get the case.

Sabrina Bonanno, co-counsel for the defense, is arguing for some specific language in the instructions that will clarify what happens if Nathaniel Fujita is found not guilty by reason of lack of criminal responsibility.

These instructions will be further described to the jury, presumably later today.

Fujita is here now for this conversation with the judge. He's wearing a gray suit and white shirt today.

lisa davis March 05, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Does anyone know why locket was significant to Nate? The prosecutor led with it so I'm assuming he gave it to her since he allegedly took it off her key chain and placed it with the body. any ideas?
Brooklyn Lowery (Editor) March 05, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Thank you! It has been difficult and stressful at moments, but it's worth it when I hear that it's valuable to readers. Glad I could be here to do the service.
Brooklyn Lowery (Editor) March 05, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Hi Lisa, we don't know much about that locket. According to testimony, it was found on Water Row, it was given to Astley around her high school graduation and it was attached to her keys. Testimony didn't reveal who gave it to her or what, if any significance, it had.
UserXYZ March 05, 2013 at 09:18 PM
99% sure he'll be found guilty, which is a shame and yet also not a shame.
K Chiaravalloti March 05, 2013 at 09:43 PM
I hope they put the scum bag away for life for taking away Lauren at such a young age. RIP Lauren and I pray for you and your parents and I hope the jury puts him away for life the jury puts him away.
JRZ March 05, 2013 at 10:06 PM
The prosecutor likely led with it because it evokes an emotional response in the jury, setting the stage for a more compelling closing argument. It had little direct relevance to the case.
carolbells March 05, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Brooklyn... you are awesome, you should win an award for your coverage of this entire tragic event.
Caroline March 05, 2013 at 10:52 PM
I think she led with the locket, because it was such a compelling, deliberate action on his part to separate it from the keys. He may have intended to keep it or perhaps establish robbery as a motive for her dissapearance by another party. It was a huge mistake having it discovered with her body. Since he admittedr the killing of her, I don't know why he didn't tell them where the knife was since hiding it was a deliberate act to escape charges. My guess is he cleaned it and it is back in the family cutlery drawer. People who commit crimes are strange, they'll murder someone but not deprive the family of cooking utensiles.
David Stallard March 05, 2013 at 11:38 PM
I want to add my thanks and commendations as well. Brooklyn has done just an incredible job of relaying the trial in near real time. Throughout each day, I've checked the page for new updates, and read each new one immediately, dropping everything to do so. As someone who grew up in town, this case has some personal importance for me, and I'm grateful to Brooklyn for keeping us all connected.
Alan Reiss March 05, 2013 at 11:38 PM
I believe that separating the locket from the key chain was his act of love (as twisted as they does seem to say now). But, as the prosecutor aptly and correctly implied that it was a 'sane' act and one that showed his purposefulness and his organized thought process. I did not know about this locket or its separation. I'm glad she pointed it out. It only underscores what I already believe to be true.
David Stallard March 05, 2013 at 11:48 PM
My first thought about the locket was that he wanted to detach it from the keys, so that if the keys were seen in the storm drain, they would not be immediately relatable to Lauren. The other possibility is that the locket had some meaning to him. It's a bit haunting, one of the mysteries of this case, I suppose. Regarding the knife, I am sure that he just hucked it into the Sudbury as hard as he could throw, which was considerably far, given his athleticism. Ditto for her cell phone, which was also never found. There is a limit to the area a search can cover. I sure he didn't put the knife back into the drawer! The Luminol would have found that out anyway. His big mistake was bringing anything back from the crime scene - bloody sneakers, sweatshirt - back to his house, and trying to hide it.
Michael Barrett March 06, 2013 at 02:53 AM
The entire series of events were purposeful and organized. He has her park down the street, then he has her go into the garage (it's unknown if the doors were open or closed, even if open, there is only one house with a view inside the garage), then he strangles her, goes inside and get a knife to make sure she is dead, then he takes her body to a very remote area of town (especially at that time of night), goes out into the water 36 feet and tries to put the body under the vegetation, puts her car at the beach, throws the keys in the storm drain, throws her phone and the knife someone, cleans up blood evidence, hides his muddy clothes and shoes, lies to the police, joins the facebook page to find her, etc. Oh yeah and googled does water remove finger prints. The evidence of a crime rare gets more clear than this. I'm at a loss to see where anything he did that night was not purposeful and of a sick but sane person.
Michael Barrett March 06, 2013 at 03:10 AM
David - She was reported missing, if the keys were found they would have been very relatable to her since the type of keys and the remote would tell you what make of car they are for, etc. As far as disposing of the knife and phone. His athletic ability was fine but nothing great. An average HS athlete. The phone due to the weight and lack of wind resistence could be thrown a decent distance. The knife could not be thrown that far. It does not have much mass and the blade would act as a wind rudder and greatly reduce the distance it could be thrown. The main reason they have not found either is the area they most likely were thrown. That area from waters row east on Rt 27 is a very expansive marsh with a lot of vegetation. It could be in the river but that area on Rt 27 is open with fewer trees. I would think they would have had divers in that area and with the water free of weeds mostly they would have found them. I think they were probably thrown in the water/weeds at a different spot on waters row or one of the other streets in that area. But he could have held onto them and thrown them away later, who knows. If he cleaned the knife, put it in a dishwasher, etc. luminol would not have found any blood. But he did such a poor job of disposing of everything else, he probably would have done a poor job there as well.
Michael Barrett March 06, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Brooklyn - Beside the 8 male, 4 female decription for the jury, can you add more? What are their ages, do they all seem engaged in the case (more or less when defense or prosecution are speaking), do they look at Fujita, make eye contract? Do they look at Lauren's family?
Meaghan Winokur March 06, 2013 at 06:34 AM
Michael Barrett - I can't help but feel that you are getting your jollies out of this whole situation. This is a tragedy no matter how you look at it. Lauren's family will suffer from her loss in ways that we cannot imagine or relieve every day. Nate's family will be scarred forever. The young adults of this community who grew up and went to school with them will never forget or fully understand how or why this happened. Please, for their sake have some compassion (if you have any at all) and STOP pontificating your little "gems" of wisdom and opinion!
Kristina Klein March 06, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Michael Barrett's comments are disturbing.
Mike Hill March 06, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Thanks Meaghan!! The lives of the children and families of our community have been sadly changed forever. This is a tragedy and it will take a long time for all to heal.
Dewi March 06, 2013 at 12:21 PM
It, along with her Elon keychain, was a symbol of her spirit and hope.
Michael Barrett March 06, 2013 at 01:46 PM
From a person who has defended nate constantly and made excuses for his actions? I don't find any value in your opinion. It's sick you defend a murderer.
Michael Barrett March 06, 2013 at 01:52 PM
As a real estate agent for coldwell banker, are you connected to the fujita's? Have you been their agent, know them? Pleases explain your possible bias'. If you disagree, what did I say about the crime was wrong?
Bill March 06, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Guys – I don’t get your objection to people discussing the trial on a blog. If people are having a legitimate conversation about their thoughts on the case they should be allowed to do so. It’s a murder trial and this is a public place to share thoughts and ideas. If you find the conversation too morbid – don’t read it. It’s a murder trial – it’s going to be sad and morbid. Let people share their thoughts…..
mb March 06, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Yes, it is a tragedy for all involved. Everyone has a right to voice their opinion about what happened. If someone doesn't like an opinion, they can just stop reading... I think we can all agree the biggest tragedy is that someone's life is lost forever. If Nate is convicted, his life isn't what he would have imagined but it is still a life and it isn't impossible that he could do something decent with it, at least he would have a chance to...
Jaycee Yu March 06, 2013 at 03:07 PM
The evidence of purposefulness are clear: he knew that his mother would not be home, so to tell Lauren to park away from the house so his mother would not see the car is a clear lie, but also shows premeditation. The rage can culminate in a desire to kill if she would not rekindle the relationship with him, so there would not necessarily be a screaming and yelling argument. It has been reported that Lauren broke up with him because he went out with his friends on her birthday instead of spending it with her. This clearly shows her personal value to him...she was a possession, not a person with feelings to be valued. Remember: this was their senior year, they had been dating for 3 years or more, and they would most likely be apart for her next birthday. I feel so sorry for Lauren. It is pretty obvious that she did not want to approach Fujita again, but was possibly manipulated to do so.
kate f March 06, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Michael Barrett's thoughts/ questions and statements are exactly what one would expect here. They are food for thought and cover actual questions and thoughts that most of us think and wonder about. I'd call him, 'the average American' here.....He is not here for 'jollies'. That's an absurd stretch, that is not found in his posts. We all wish none of this happened at all. Lessons for all of us to step up to the plate when we see or feel potential for such violence/depression and anger with anyone we know...speak up!
Michael Barrett March 06, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Bill - if you have followed the case here on the patch, you would understand poasts such as Meaghan and Kristina. Kristina for one, has repeatedly excused the actions of Fujita over and over, thoughout the trial. When someone has such an opinion, I do not give it any weight. So that a person who excuses a brutal murderer as Kristina has, criticizes me. I take that as a badge of honor. Since Kristina cannot argue the facts I stated, she attacks me. It's pathetic.
captaincrunchy March 06, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Why would Nate have her park her car down the street? His mother went to Astley's place of work to essentially browbeat her into having a meeting with her son. His mother would of been happy that 'they were talking things out'. This shows absolute premeditation.
Alan Reiss March 06, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Or if one cannot discuss a murder trial on the blog underneath an article written about the murder trial then where can one discuss it? Lauren received a sentence but no trial. Nate received a trial and he received a very good defense. The only one who put Nate into this position is Nate himself. This is not a private matter this is a very public matter and no matter what sentence he gets. He will be going away somewhere for a very long time and paid for at the cost of the general public. Anyone has a right to discuss this matter. No one's freedom of speech should be abridged.
Bill March 06, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Here is the question I am trying to answer for myself. Does he get convicted of 2nd because of his age and what a life without parole means to a 20 year old? Does the jury (being human) make him pay because she was a very attractive young woman with her life ahead of her – and they bring back a 1st. I know that will not be the sole reason, but does it “tip” the scales either way. I also know neither of those thoughts should enter into the equation – but will they.
David Stallard March 06, 2013 at 06:21 PM
I believe that Fujita was in fact suffering from a kind of madness when he committed the crime. It was a madness borne out of jealousy and loss, emotions which I believe that given his psychological makeup, were far more extreme in him, and which he was far more vulnerable to, than the average person. I also believe that he feels terrible remorse for his crime now, and feels grief at what he did to Lauren. His sobbing during the testimony showed that. I believe it was genuine. Nevertheless, I believe that this madness was not a true psychosis, and that it does not and must not in any way exculpate him. His must pay the price for what he has done, which is first degree murder. Anything less would devalue the innocent victim in this case, who has paid the highest price of all.
Michael Barrett March 06, 2013 at 07:34 PM
I think what will sway them is her tiny size, 5' 100 lbs., he was nearly twice her weight, the brutality of the crime and all the covering up, where he put her body, etc. The details are very clear, I don't think they lead to sympathy for fujita.

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