Deadly home invasion suspects plead not guilty

During the arraignment, people in the court room had to leave for a security check

ORANGE, Mass. (WWLP) – The two suspects in the deadly home invasion in Orange were arraigned in Orange District Court on Friday.

23-year-old Joshua Hart and 27-year-old Brittany Smith, both of Athol, are suspected of murdering 95-year-old Thomas Hardy and seriously wounding his wife, Joanna Fisher, in last week’s home invasion in Orange.

“You want to go home at night thinking that things don’t happen like this in a small community, but they do, said Chief Craig Lundren of the Orange Police Department. “It’s going to make the Orange Police Department more vigilant.”

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

During the arraignment, people in the court room had to leave for a security check, and then they were able to return.

Smith and Hart both pleaded not guilty at arraignment and their next court appearance will be December 20. They are both being held without bail.

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan spoke shortly after the arraignment ended. He provided new information on the suspects and the investigation into the home invasion.

“We were able to track them and many different ways through credit card use and many other different investigative techniques,” said Northwestern District Attorney, David Sullivan. “We tracked them down to Virginia where they were apprehended.”

Hart and Smith were captured outside a Walmart in Virginia last weekend. The victim’s stolen car was also recovered in Virginia.

Hart and Smith were brought back to Orange Wednesday night after waiving extradition in a Virginia Courtroom this week.

DA Sullivan said Mr. Harty was a world war two veteran. Ms. Fisher is recovering at UMass Medical Center in Worcester after being stabbed and beaten. The victims did not know the suspects.


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