2 arrested in connection with Orange home invasion, murder

Two people were arrested in Virginia and charged in connection with a home invasion in Orange last week that left an elderly man dead and his wife severely injured.

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office said 23-year-old Joshua Hart and 27-year-old Brittany Smith were being held without bail. Both will be officially charged when they arrive back in Massachusetts

Police said Thomas Hardy, 95, was found dead inside his house on East River Street. His wife, 77-year-old Joanna Fisher, remains hospitalized. The couple’s stolen Toyota Corolla station wagon was also recovered in Virginia. A motive for the crime is unknown.

“I hope he gets what he deserves,” said Hart’s former landlord, Tiffany Wilder. Hart lived in a basement apartment in Athol before he was allegedly kicked out by his girlfriend two weeks ago. Wilder’s daughter told 7News that Hart is a “big time” drug addict.

Police said Hart and Smith were both arrested in Orange three days before Hardy was killed. Police said the two were charged with stealing a car that was later found in Fitchburg.

Hart and Smith are due in court in Virginia on Wednesday.

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