Nathaniel Fujita killed his 18-year-old high school sweetheart with deliberate premeditation after the couple broke up, prosecutors told a Massachusetts jury, brushing aside defense claims that the former football and track star was temporarily insane.
"There is no psychosis fairy who magically sprinkles a temporary dose of psychoses on this defendant," Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Lisa McGovern said in her closing argument Wednesday. Prosecutors said the planning was so detailed that Fujita even told Lauren Astley to park out of sight the night of her murder. The vehicle was later found abandoned miles from the murder scene.
The jury begins its deliberations in the case today.
Astley's body was found July 4, 2011 in a swamp near her and Fujita's hometown of Wayland, Mass. Fujita, then 18, was arrested shortly after Astley's body was discovered by a passing bicyclist.
Police searched Fujita's home and found blood in the garage and on an exterior door handle, the kitchen floor, kitchen sink and bathroom sink. They found a pair of blood-spattered sneakers in an attic crawlspace above Fujita's room. The blood was positively identified as that of the victim.
Fujita, 20, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
During the trial the defense stated there is a history of schizophrenia in Fujita's family, and that he was battling severe depression at the time of Astley's death, right after she broke up with him.
The prosecution has said Fujita's guilt in Astley's death, who was found beaten, strangled with a bungee cord and slashed, is evidenced by his alleged attempts to cover his tracks by hiding bloody clothing and placing Astley's body in a marsh.
"The time for blaming football, the time for blaming marijuana, the time for blaming the victim, is over," McGovern said in court.
Defense Attorney William Sullivan said high emotion shouldn't guide the jury's decision.
"Apply the law to those facts in a way that is not swayed by emotion, by sympathy or anger," he said.
Last week the defense called on a forensic psychiatrist who testified that Fujita suffered from a major depressive episode leading up to the murder, followed by a brief psychotic episode and cognitive disorder from football injuries.
But the prosecution countered with another psychiatrist, who testified she believed Fujita was exaggerating how depressed he was.
"I think the primary motivator was rage," forensic psychiatrist Dr. Alison Fife told the court.
If convicted of first-degree murder Fujita faces life in prison without parole.