• Mother of slain Wayland teen testifies in murder trial


    WOBURN, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- The mother of a murdered teen took the stand on Thursday in the trial of her daughter's ex-boyfriend.

    Mary Dunne, weeping with almost every word, described the last time she saw her daughter.

    "I saw her at the mall on July 2, we had a small meal together, then I walked her back to her job," said Dunne.

    Prosecutors say the next day, Nathaniel Fujita lured Lauren Astley to his home where he beat and strangled her before he slashed her throat and dumped her body in a Wayland marsh.

    Dunne described a day nearly one month before her daughter's murder. Fujita showed up to her daughter's graduation party and Astley began crying.

    "I told Nathaniel to settle down, they were no longer dating, it was her graduation party," explained Dunne. "She deserved to enjoy herself."

    Astley's mother eventually asked Fujita to leave.

    "I walked over to where Nathaniel was standing and I told him his mother was here I wanted him to leave the party," Dunne recalled.

    Fujita broke down after the victim's mother testified. He wiped tears away from his eyes.

    Dunne said her daughter began singing at the age of 4. She was active in her church and made three trips to New Orleans to help Katrina victims.

    Prosecutors claim Fujita was upset over his break-up with Astley. His attorneys claim he suffered a brief psychotic episode. On Thursday, the defense got their turn by calling Fujita's aunt to the stand.

    The 20-year-old's aunt described him as "sweet, honest, athletic, and quiet." She also indicated a family history of mental illness by describing a distant relative as a paranoid schizophrenic.

    The aunt also testified that in the weeks before Astley's murder there was a change in Fujita's behavior. She said he seemed withdrawn and depressed.

    The judge says he expects the case to wrap up by Friday and for closing arguments to begin on Monday. He also believes the case will be in the hands of the jury no later than Tuesday.

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