Pair sentenced to consecutive life terms in Orange double murder case


ADA Jeremy Bucci and investigators who worked on the Orange double murder case

Joshua Hart and Brittany Smith were each sentenced  in Franklin Superior Court, today, May 10, to two consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murders of Thomas Harty and Joanna Fisher, of Orange.

Hart, 25 and Smith, 29, both of Athol, were charged in connection with the Oct. 5, 2016 home invasion and slaying of Harty, 95 and Fisher, 77, who lived at 581 East River Street in Orange. 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.

A Franklin County Jury convicted Hart of two counts of first degree murder and other charges on April 13. Smith was convicted by a separate jury on May 7.

In sentencing the pair  to consecutive rather than concurrent terms of life without parole, Judge John Agostini adopted the recommendation of the lead prosecutor, Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci, saying that the defendants deserved a life term for each of the lives they had taken.

“All I can say is that this was a ghastly, vicious offense that deserves the most serious penalty,” Agostini said. 

To the victims’ families, Agostini said, “ I can offer no words of solace, this was unexplained."

"This crime strikes at the very core of all of us,” Agostini said.

 Bucci said of the defendants, “This is their day of reckoning.”

Smith’s and Hart’s sentences included additional terms ranging from 3-5 years to 35-40 years for other offenses they were found guilty of committing, including home invasion, robbery, theft of a motor vehicle and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Hart will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Cedar Junction;  Smith will serve her sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution  Framingham.

MassLive video of entire sentencing hearing:

Donald Harty’s statement:

Channel 22 report:

Channel 40 report: