Touching moment at Fujita trial

One of the most touching moments in a courtroom occurred on Thursday when Malcolm Astley walked over and embraced the parents of the Wayland High football star who had just been convicted of brutally murdering his daughter.

The families had been close during the three years their children were dating in high school. Both children seem poised for promising futures. Laura Astley was headed for Elon College. Nathaniel Fujita was planning to play football at Trinity College. But when Laura Astley broke up with Fujita, he responded by luring her to his home in July 2011 and beating, strangling, and slashing her and dumping her body in a swampy area.

Fujita, 20, was sentenced to life in prison. As the verdict was announced, Fujita remained emotionless and did not speak. Fujita’s attorney had argued his client killed Astley during a “brief psychotic episode.” An appeal is automatic in first-degree murder convictions.

Malcolm Astley, in his victim impact statement, mentioned the many things his daughter would never experience. He also referred to “the loss of Nate as I and she thought we knew him.” He called on Fujita to apologize for his crime and atone for it by working to end violence against women.

After the courtroom proceedings ended, Malcolm Astley walked over to the Fujitas and quietly embraced them for a minute. The Globe reported that Astley had kept in touch with Fujita’s mother after the murder until lawyers told them to stop communicating. Astley told CBS 4’s Jonathan Elias that he and the Fujitas said sorry to each other over and over during their embrace. Elias said the parents were realizing that “both families had lost their children forever.”

                                                                                                            –BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

House Speaker Robert DeLeo voices support for a trimmed down transportation finance package, suggesting Gov. Deval Patrick’s ambitious plan is too costly. The Herald editorial page likes what it hears.

Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci are getting the band back together. Cellucci joins ML Strategies, CommonWealth reports.

US Sen. Rand Paul, who droned on about drones during a filibuster this week, has company over his concerns of the unmanned flying machines. State Sen. Robert Hedlund of Weymouth has filed a bill to restrict the use of drones in Massachusetts.

Tim Cahill grabs coffee with the Herald’s Peter Gelzinis.

Angelo McClain, the head of the state Department of Children and Families, leaves to take the top job at a social workers’ lobbying group.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Cape towns are working on their requests for federal disaster assistance with last month’s blizzard: Sandwich tops the list with a $4.45 million ask.

The Lynn City Council is considering a plan that would force banks to sit down with homeowners to discuss alternatives to foreclosure, the Item reports.

Duxbury voters will decides whether to pay former police chief Mark Deluca a $290,000 settlement to drop his lawsuit against the town and go away.

Global Spectrum proposes to manage Lowell Memorial Auditorium in an arrangement that theoretically would eliminate the city’s current $320,000 subsidy for the facility, the Sun reports.

The Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester is closing after 82 years and moving its collection to the Worcester Art Museum, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

The pay is too damn low: Pittsfield loses out on a new community development director from California because of the $73,000 salary.

High tide washes a Plum Island home out to sea.

A state Civil Service board moves to reinstate six Boston police officers fired for failing drug tests, but Mayor Tom Menino vows to fight the ruling.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Syndicated conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer gives Secretary of State John Kerry a lesson from his point of view on why and how to give foreign aid.

Nate Silver has Bill Galvin’s back: The New York Times stats columnist questions the Supreme Court’s take on the Voting Rights Act.

ELECTIONS

US Rep. Steve Lynch’s vote in the House against the federal health care law is dogging him in the Democratic primary race for US Senate.

Rep. Dan Winslow formally kicks off his campaign with an ode to Abraham Lincoln.

Not even 50 days into his second term and a Quinnipiac University poll gauging the frontrunner to be President Obama’s successor gives Hillary Clinton the nod with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faring best among Republicans against the Democratic field in 2016.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Massachusetts employers added more than 16,000 jobs in January, but the state unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent.

State regulators want insurers to better prepare for the impact of climate change, Governing reports.

CHARITIES

A new study finds church finances are beginning to emerge from the recession with two-thirds showing increased donations from 2010 to 2011 with the biggest gains coming in those churches that have younger congregations.

EDUCATION

Globe columnist Scot Lehigh says the arguments for raising the state’s charter school cap are compelling, but nonetheless face resistance from Democratic leaders, including Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Tom Menino.

HEALTH CARE

A new “supergerm” has invaded about half of the hospitals in Massachusetts, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

TRANSPORTATION

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Attorney General Martha Coakley is calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to end a loophole that has allowed Northeast Utilities to withhold public disclosure of how much chief executive Tom May earned in 2012.

Worried about sharks in Cape waters? Just be glad you don’t live in Florida, where one species of shark is migrating to its seasonal feeding grounds.

Michigan sues to stop the transfer of tax credits from bankrupt Waltham battery maker A123 Systems to the firm’s new Chinese owner.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Aaron Swartz’s father talks with WBUR about his son’s suicide and the charges brought against him by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Attorney General Martha Coakley sues Pinnacle Financial Consulting of Lawrence, alleging the firm preys on homeowners facing the imminent loss of their homes, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

The former head of a Roman Catholic religious order in Ipswich is charged with a second child rape case, the Salem News reports.

MEDIA

Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine appears in an ad for CBS Sports Fantasy Baseball that makes light of his many firings.

The Dallas Morning News, with the help of a Knight grant, intends to build a map showing crime in the local area, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Max Holland asks why Bob Woodward has become an American icon.

Dan Kennedy goes a little deeper than the Eagle-Tribune’s happy-face release on changes at the top for its regional papers.