Not guilty pleas for suspects in Orange home invasion murder

The victims were beaten and stabbed during the two hour attack

Joshua Hart (left) and Brittany Smith (right) are seen here during their arraignments at Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield.

ORANGE, Mass. (WWLP) – Two suspects in a deadly home invasion in Orange will remain in jail while they await trial.

Joshua Hart and Brittany Smith, both of Athol, are accused of murdering 95-year-old Thomas Harty and critically wounding his 77-year-old wife Joanna Fisher in their East River Street home on October 5.

Fisher later died but it’s unclear whether she died from the injuries she sustained during the attack.  The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office told 22News the medical examiner should know her cause of death in the coming weeks.

Both suspects pleaded not guilty Thursday during their arraignment at superior court in Greenfield, and were ordered held without the right to bail. They had earlier been arraigned in Orange District Court

Hart and Smith are charged with:

  • Murder
  • Attempted Murder
  • Two Counts of Home Invasion, one naming each victim
  • Two Counts of Armed Robbery, one naming each victim
  • Conspiracy
  • Larceny over $250
  • Larceny of a Motor Vehicle
  • Receiving Stolen Property
  • Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card

The suspects were arrested in Virginia four days after the attack, and were indicted on murder charges last month.

Mary Carey, spokesperson for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, said if Hart and Smith are convicted of murder in the first degree, they face a mandatory sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Hart and Smith are not due in court again until late June.

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