Athol man convicted of two counts of murder in the first degree


A Franklin County Jury has convicted Joshua Hart, 25, of Athol, on two counts of murder in the first degree in connection with the deaths of Thomas Harty and Joanna Fisher of Orange.

Hart faces a mandatory sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Sentencing is set for May 10 at 2 p.m.

Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said, “A measure of justice was served in this case. Two innocent lives were lost to senseless and brutal acts of the defendant." 

“We are thankful for the thoughtful attention and deliberations of the jury," Sullivan said.

Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci was the lead prosecutor on the case.

Hart and an alleged accomplice, Brittany Smith, also of Athol, both were charged in connection with the Oct. 5, 2016 home invasion and slaying of Harty, 95 and Fisher, 77.

Fisher, at first, had not succumbed to her injuries sustained in the attack, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that her death a month later stemmed from the assault.

Both victims lived on 581 East River St. in Orange.

Smith is scheduled to go to trial April 23.