Orange murder suspects allegedly committed several crimes within week

Joshua Hart & Brittany Smith were arrested in connection with Wednesday's murder

orange-slaying-suspects Joshua Hart Brittany Smith
Police booking photos of Joshua Hart and Brittany Smith, suspects in a deadly home invasion in Orange. Images Courtesy: Orange Police Department

ORANGE, Mass. (WWLP) – Two arrests have been made in connection with Wednesday’s deadly home invasion in Orange.

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office told 22News that 23-year-old Joshua Hart and 27-year-old Brittany Smith of Athol were arrested in Rockbridge, Virginia, on Saturday. Hart and Smith were found in Lexington, inside a U-Haul parked outside a Walmart. Deputies arrested them on Massachusetts larceny of a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property arrest warrants. Hart and Smith allegedly stole the victim’s car to get out of the state.

The two allegedly forced their way into 581 East River Street, Wednesday night, and killed 95 year-old Thomas Harty. They also seriously hurt his wife, 77 year-old Joanna Fisher, who days after the invasion, is still recovering at UMass Medical Center in Worcester.

Five days after the deadly home invasion in Orange, Tina Streeter told 22News she’s relieved the suspects are in handcuffs. “It was nice to see they caught the people and they have them under arrest, so we don’t have to worry that they’re around in the area.”

The murder was one of many crimes the two allegedly committed last week. According to the Greenfield Recorder, Hart and Smith were arrested 2 days before the murder, but wouldn’t specify why. 22News also found out from the Harrisonburg Police Department in Virginia they’re suspects in a robbery at a Virginia mall the day after the elderly couple was found in Orange; that’s 2 days after Harty was murdered.

Streeter told 22News, “To us it seemed like a random act, and it could happen to anybody. That’s the scary part, that it could happen to anybody.”

Hart and Smith are being held without bail in Virginia. They are scheduled to have fugitive from justice arraignments Tuesday in Virginia, and then, depending on whether they wave rendition, they could be back in Massachusetts as early as Thursday. The two will be charged with murder, attempted murder, robbery, larceny over $250, larceny of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.