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Arguments on motion to suppress postponed

  • Joshua Hart and Brittany Smith



Recorder Staff
Thursday, December 28, 2017

GREENFIELD — Arguments on a motion to suppress information in the case of two young adults accused of killing an elderly couple in Orange last year have been postponed to February due to an emergency in one of the defense attorneys’ schedule, according to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.

Lawyers for Brittany Smith, 29, and Joshua Hart, 25, are calling into question the methods used by law enforcement officials to obtain confessions from the defendants. Earlier this month, Lt. Steven Funkhouser of the Rockbridge County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office and Stephen Bushay of the Massachusetts State Police were questioned on the stand during a hearing on the motion to suppress. Judge John Agostini was scheduled to hear final arguments on the motion in Franklin Superior Court on Wednesday, but it has been rescheduled to Feb. 8, this time in Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield.

Smith’s attorneys insist she was sick during her interrogation from having eaten fast food and the lawyers representing Hart have questioned the appropriateness of Bushay’s mentioning of religion during his interview with Hart.

Hart and Smith are accused of killing 95-year-old Thomas A. Harty during an Oct. 5, 2016, home invasion at 581 East River St. in Orange and causing fatal injuries to his 77-year-old wife, Joanna Fisher, and leaving her for dead. Fisher died a month later due to complications from the injuries she sustained in the attack.

Smith and Hart also allegedly ransacked the home looking for cash and fled the scene, taking with them the victims’ credit and debit cards and the keys to a Toyota Matrix. The two were apprehended by the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Department in Virginia.