Location of motion hearing for double murder suspects changed

  • Brittany Smith File photo

  • Joshua Hart File photo

Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2018

ORANGE — A motion hearing for the suspects connected to the double murder of Joanna Fisher and Thomas Harty that was originally scheduled for Feb. 8 and then postponed to March 2, has had its location changed, as well.

The hearing that was originally planned to be held in Greenfield, and then was moved to Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield, has been moved back to Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield. The date and time of March 2 at 9 a.m. remains the same.

The hearing will decide if the testimonial confessions the suspects, Joshua Hart and Brittany Smith, both of Athol, had made to police is to be suppressed. Defense attorneys for the two have argued that police used religious guilt to evoke a confession out of each suspect.

The two will be tried separately in April. Each faces two counts of murder, two counts of home invasion, two counts of armed robbery, conspiracy, larceny over $250, larceny of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and unauthorized use of a credit card. They also face charges in connection to earlier incidents related to breaking and entering in Athol and larceny over $250.

If convicted of murder, the defendants face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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