Orange murder suspects arraigned in Virginia

Both suspects will return to Massachusetts to face charges

orange-slaying-suspects Joshua Hart Brittany Smith
Police booking photos of Joshua Hart and Brittany Smith, suspects in the home invasion killing of 95 year-old Thomas Harty. Images Courtesy: Orange Police Department

LEXINGTON, Va. (WWLP) – The two suspects in a deadly home invasion in Orange were in a Virginia court on Tuesday.

The Rockbridge County General District Court Clerk told 22News that Joshua Hart and Brittany Smith appeared before Judge Gordon Saunders around 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday. They waived their rights to an attorney and waived their right to extradition. They were arraigned as fugitives of justice.

Their court appearance was scheduled for Wednesday morning, but the court was able to get a judge to hear their case. That means they’ll be heading back to Massachusetts to face charges possibly on Wednesday.

They’re accused of killing 95-year-old Thomas Harty and wounding his wife Joanna Fisher during a home invasion last week. Hart and Smith, both from Athol,were found in a Walmart parking lot in Lexington, Virginia on Saturday. Once returned, they’ll face charges of murder, attempted murder, home invasion and robbery.

Smith and Hart were arrested last Monday for stealing a car in Franklin County, two days before they were accused of killing Harty. 22News also found out from the Harrisonburg Police Department in Virginia that Hart and Smith are suspects in a robbery at a Virginia mall the day after the elderly couple was found in Orange; that’s two days after Harty was murdered. Police arrested Hart and Smith on Sunday when they were caught in a U-Haul truck at a Walmart in Virginia.

Life has changed for Orange residents.

“Its a far and few between type of thing around here but obviously everybody needs to keep an eye out and their doors locked at night,” said Michelle Sampson of Orange.

“It’s going to be hard to forget about i guess,” said Jerome Martin of Orange. “I feel bad for the family and stuff but it happens, You never know what people are going to do.”

22News will continue to cover this story and let you know the latest in the investigation when it becomes available.

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