Two suspects in the killing of a 95-year-old Massachusetts man who were captured in Virginia were ordered held without bail at their arraignment on Friday.
Joshua Hart, 23, and 27-year-old Brittany Smith, 27, had waived rendition in a Virginia courtroom earlier in the week, clearing the way for their Massachusetts court appearance.
The Athol, Massachusetts, residents are suspects in a home invasion last week in the adjacent town of Orange that left Thomas Harty dead and his 77-year-old wife, Joanna Fisher, in the hospital.
"Two of the most generous people you ever want to meet," said Larry Fisher, Joanna Fisher's son, said of the victims. "If you went in there and asked them for money and the car, they would have given it to them, my mother probably would have made them a meal before they left."
They are charged with murder, attempted murder, home invasion, armed robbery, conspiracy, larceny over $250, larceny of a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property. Their next court date will be on Dec. 20.
"It could have been us," neighbor Kimball Saurimo told necn. "I don't live too far from where this happened. At the age of 72, I get scared."
Court documents show the suspects admitted to investigators that they committed the deadly home invasion. Their motive was to start a new life.
Prosecutors said the suspects broke into the home on Oct. 6 and began beating and stabbing Harty and Fisher. Harty died after suffering stab wounds and being suffocated with a pillow.
They said the suspects also tried cutting Fisher's throat and suffocating her, but were unsuccessful. She is still in the hospital and is now on the road to recovery.
"I just can't believe they would do such a thing," said Noreen Mascroft, Thomas Harty's niece. "I don't understand it at all."
"This was a brutal, savage home invasion that occurred because Mr. Hart and Smith wanted to avoid going to jail and drug treatment, respectively," Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci said.
Hart and Smith allegedly stole credit and debit cards and the victims' station wagon before taking off. They told investigators they committed the deadly home invasion to go somewhere else and start a new life.
The suspects were caught two days later in a rental truck outside a Wal-Mart in Rockbridge County, Virginia.
"I'm glad they caught them," said John Harty, Thomas Harty's brother. "Make them suffer for a while."