Victim's co-worker takes stand in Wayland trial
WOBURN, Mass. (WHDH) -- Testimony in the trial of a Wayland man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend continued on Thursday.
Former co-workers of Lauren Astley, who prosecutors say was strangled and stabbed to death by 20-year-old Nathanial Fujita in July 2011, took the stand Thursday. They said Astley was going to meet up with Fujita after work because she was worried about him. Hours later, Astley was dead.
Alessandra Chinetti, one of Astley’s co-workers at a clothing store at the Natick Mall, said Astley told her she had broken up with Fujita and was seeing other people in a romantic way.
Prosecutors said Fujita strangled Astley with a bungee cord before dumping her body in a nearby marsh. Prosecutors said Fujita was humiliated after Astley broke up with him.
The defense said Fujita suffered a psychotic episode and isn’t criminally responsible.
Co-workers said on the day Astley was killed she said she was going to meet Fujita after work.
“She said she was going to talk with her ex-boyfriend and see how he’s doing because she’s worried about him,” said Chinetti.
Astley and Fujita dated for about three years in high school.
Other employees recall Fujita’s mother showing up at the Natick Mall to see Astley at work to discuss the breakup.
“It was an unusual event for Mrs. Fujita to be in that store upset, distraught, talking for a half hour with Lauren Astley. That was unusual, right?” asked the defense.
“It was maybe an unusual occurrence, I don’t think it was unusual for her to be speaking to Lauren,” said Meaghen Reineke, Astley’s co-worker.
Hours before Astley’s body was discovered, Fujita was questioned by police. He said Astley visited him and described it as an “awkward moment.”