Wayland Teenage Murder Sparks Questions Of Massachusetts Relationship Violence

Not so long ago, Wayland’s Nathaniel Fujita and Lauren Astley were a couple.
She broke up with him. He wanted to get back together. Now, she is dead and he is in custody, charged with her Massachusetts murder.

This is a common and tragic scenario that we see when it comes to domestic violence cases…both when those cases involve the young and the not so young.

After the killing, sometime last week, a cross section of teens were interviewed as to whether they ever think about things such as relationship violence. While many of the kids have friends in long-term relationships, most could not imagine and relationship at their age ending in such a tragedy.

Teachers and parents still preach about the perils of relationships twisting into violence. However, it appears to them that teens are too young to deal with serious relationships on their own, but not too young, despite what they might think, to suffer abuse and violence.

Some of the teens say that they have friends at the local High School who have been dating for a year or longer. But their friends’ relationships seem casual, they say. If those romances end, the girls predicted, neither boy nor girl would react explosively.

“It’s a little weird to be in such a serious relationship right now,” one girl said. “If you’re in high school, it’s not like you’re getting married.”

It is not that teenagers are complete strangers to the realities of abusive relationships. When a friend broke up with a longtime boyfriend months ago, the upset former boyfriend brandished a gun. But Fraser views the episode as an anomaly.

Even if their children see the issue as more theoretical than practical, parents said communication at home is key to healthy teenage relationships.

Seekonk resident Christina Machado, 44, has taught her 16-year-old daughter to enjoy spending time with her boyfriend of five months, but not so much that she neglects friends, family, and hobbies. Those conversations include her boyfriend and his parents.

“I want to make sure they’re strong enough to be their own people,” Machado said.

The daughter seems to be listening: “I don’t feel like I have to see him every day,” she said of her boyfriend.

Attorney Sam’s Take Violence, Kids And Laws

For those of us with children, this story is not surprising. Kids seem to think that they are indestructible and can “put it over” us old folks and get away with almost anything. Those of us with teens know that the truth according to the kids…we know nothing; they know all.

It is a reality which has our juvenile courts growing more and more over-loaded.

We wonder…why don’t they just get it?

Well, sometimes they do.

It was not so long ago that we were trying to get the warning out about date-rape. For the longest time, soon-to-be victims believed that it was they who were to blame. Others, figuring it could never happen to them placed themselves in danger repeatedly.

Now, it seem to be better understood…by both kids and adults as well.

However, as our criminal justice system is not always consistent, neither are we. On one hand, we realize that kids, of all ages, have a hard time understanding things like risks. Risks of date rape. Risks of violence in relationships.

And yet, when it comes to other issues, we expect that they will have the maturity of an adult and the self-control that many adults even lack. What am I referring to?

I am referring to Massachusetts bullying. I am referring to our “toughest in the nation” statute which groups kids of all ages in terms of labels. I am referring to various prosecutors who, many for political reasons, treat instances of kids screwing up as if they were adults in need of incarceration.

Of course, this is not limited to bullying. Just last week we discussed a matter in which a child brought a weapon to school. Something serious? Sure. Bad judgment? No doubt.

But deserving of ruining a life and a family?


Kids see inconsistency as hypocrisy. Perhaps when we become more consistent, our rules will make sense to them. Perhaps then we can protect them better than we do now…with either a criminal defense attorney…an ambulance…or a funeral home.

To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-09/news/29756124_1_relationship-violence-jordyn-boyfriend

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