Prosecutors accused a Wayland teen today of cutting the throat of his former girlfriend, Lauren Astley, 18, after a search of his family’s home yielded blood stained clothing and blood stains in the garage.
Nathaniel Fujita, 18, pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder in court today. The former Wayland High School football player was ordered held without bail.
According to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr., Astley recently ended her and Fujita’s three year relationship on seemingly friendly terms.
“We do believe this to be a case of teen dating violence,’’ Leone said. “Lauren broke off the relationship…It’s a classic fatal paradigm that we see around teen dating relationships.’’
Astley’s body was found in a marsh off Route 27 on Monday morning by a bicyclist.
The victim had a “gaping incision to the neck,” and with at least one bungee cord around her neck, Middlesex Assistant District McGovern said in court.
“There was a strong case of premeditated murder … and attempts to cover up with what he had done,’’ McGovern said in court about Fujita.
The suspect was questioned by the police three times, most recently at 7 a.m. on Monday, right before Astley’s body was found.
Fujita admitted to meeting Astley at his home, but said she was alive when she left.
Police searched the Fujita family home after Astley was reported missing on Sunday night and found bloody evidence, including sneakers and clothing hidden in a crawlspace in Fujita’s bedroom, according to McGovern.
William Sullivan, Fujita’s attorney, said the suspect knew police were investigating him since Sunday and made no attempt to flee.
Fujita is supposed to attend Trinity College in Connecticut this fall. Astley was set to attend Elon University in North Carolina to study business.
Astley’s father, Malcolm Astley, said she went missing around 8 p.m. on Sunday after working a closing shift at Shop344 in the Natick Collection. She reportedly went to the Wayland town beach after work, but never called home to check in.
“The more time went on, the more worried I became,” Mr. Astley said.
The victim’s father declined to speculate about what might have happened to his daughter in a Boston Globe article.
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