2 murder suspects captured in Virginia

ORANGE — The two suspects captured by authorities and wanted in connection with the home invasion in town last week, were previously arrested last Monday for stealing a vehicle from an East River street location. 

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office announced Sunday that Joshua Hart, 23, of  20 Chestnut Hill Ave., Athol, and Brittany Smith, 27, of 784 Chase Rd., Athol, are being held without bail following apprehension by the Rockbridge County, Va. Sheriff’s Department. 

Thomas Harty, 95, was killed inside his home at 581, East River St. in the overnight hours of Wednesday, Oct. 5 to Thursday, Oct. 6. His wife Joanna Fisher was transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester where she is recovering from a throat wound. 

A day after the attack authorities announced they were seeking a 2003 gray/silver Toyota Carolla station wagon which had belonged to Harty which the suspects had stolen. That vehicle was recovered in Virginia as well, however from a different location where Hart and Smith were arrested. 

Two days prior to the home invasion, on Monday, Oct. 3, Hart and Smith were both arrested in Athol after a vehicle was reported stolen over the weekend from an East River Street location. The duo was arrested through a joint investigation between the Athol and Orange police departments. They were transported to the Orange Police Department station for booking.

Smith was released on bail from the station but Hart was transported to the Franklin County House of Corrections until his arraignment in Orange District Court on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Smith was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, Oct. 7. 

The Mass. State Police Detectives Unit assigned to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office has issued warrants for Hart and Smith for charges of murder, attempted murder, home invasion, armed robbery, larceny and conspiracy. They have also been charged with larceny of a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property (related to stolen credit/debit cards).

They are scheduled to be arraigned in Virginia tomorrow on charges of being fugitives from justice and could be back in Mass. State Police custody by Thursday.


Now I know why I always lock my doors and windows and leave my outside spotlight shining on my car. The Athol Police are very attuned to what is going on in their town and we are so lucky to have the excellent paramedics with Athol Fire Dept.

Glad they were caught. There are so many unsolved cases that it is hard to go outside without being afraid. We appreciate the police force who have done everything to make the community safe.

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Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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