Nathaniel Fujita sentenced to life in prison without parole for slaying girlfriend

Today a jury convicted Nathaniel Fujita of first-degree murder.
Today a jury convicted Nathaniel Fujita of first-degree murder.

A Wayland man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday for killing his 18-year-old girlfriend in 2011, just weeks after their high school graduation.

A Woburn jury didn’t buy 20-year-old Nathaniel Fujita’s claim that he suffered a psychotic breakdown when he killed Lauren Astley on July 3, 2011, about a month after the couple broke up.

Fujita stabbed and strangled Astley with a bungee cord in his garage, then dragged and dumped her body in a marsh. The jury deliberated for about seven hours before reaching the verdict.

Before sentencing, Astley’s father Malcolm plead with Fujita to give a reason as to why he committed the horrific crime. He also asked that Fujita give the “noble gift of atonement in Lauren’s memory” and speak out against domestic violence, which he said claims the lives of three women every day who are murdered “by an intimate partner supposedly in loving relationships.”

Her mother, Mary Dunne, made a tearful plea for the judge to impose the heavy sentence, saying, “The image of her last excruciating minutes on earth will not leave my brain ever…Life appears blurry and unappealing without Lauren.”

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