Psychiatrist testifies in Wayland murder trial
WOBURN, Mass. -- A forensic psychiatrist testifying for the defense in the trial of a Wayland man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend says the defendant was unable to control himself.
Nathanial Fujita, 20, is charged with strangling and fatally stabbing Lauren Astley and then dumping her body in a marsh in July 2011. They were both 18 at the time and had just graduated from high school.
Fujita's lawyer has not disputed that his client killed Astley, but has said he suffered a brief psychotic episode.
Forensic psychiatrist Wade Myers described Fujita’s mental illness. The expert said Fujita comes from a family with a long history of serious mental problems. Myers says Fujita lacked the ability to know his actions were wrong due to depression, daily marijuana use and repeated brain injuries suffered playing football.
Myers said in the weeks leading up to the Astley’s death, Fujita was beginning to suffer from a psychotic break.
Myers used Fujita’s own words to tell the court that after a series of texts Fujita agreed to meet Astley and then had an out-of-body experience as he followed her into his family’s garage.
“He had this feeling as though his mind was no longer controlling his body and he remembered and was able to describe in detail that he grabbed this bungee cord and put it around [Astley’s] next and began strangling her. He said it was as though he wasn’t controlling himself. It was his body acting while his mind was disconnected from what was happening,” said Myers.
Myers then told the court what Fujita said happened next.
“He held the cord on her for a bit and then she quit moving and then he said he went into the house and got a knife and came back and cut her neck,” said Myers.
Myers said the Fujita told him he panicked because he didn’t want his mother to know what happened so he drove Astley’s car to the beach. He then returned and took Astley’s body and drove it to a marsh in his own car. He then went back to his house, took a shower and watched a movie with his parents.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.