TOWNSHEND, Vt. — A Massachusetts man is facing aggravated murder charges in the deaths of two people who were shot to death before their bodies were badly burned in a house fire in the southern Vermont community of Townshend, police said Wednesday.
The warrant was issued Tuesday for Justin Orwat, 46, of Springfield, Massachusetts. He already was being held in Massachusetts on other charges, state police said.
The victims have been preliminarily identified as Steven Lovely, 43, and Amanda Sanderson, 35. They lived in the Townshend home where their bodies were found Friday morning. Autopsies determined they died of gunshot wounds.
Orwat’s wife, Tami Orwat, 38, told investigators she and her husband had been with Lovely and Sanderson on Thursday night and Friday morning and that her husband and Lovely were involved in a dispute.
“Tami Orwat implicated Justin Orwat in the shooting of Lovely and Sanderson and in the intentional burning of the residence before they left together,” police said.
Firefighters were called to the Shirley Circle log cabin Friday morning after neighbors reported hearing explosions. The house was fully engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived.
Detectives from the Vermont and Massachusetts state police along with Vermont game wardens and the FBI are investigating.
It’s unclear when Justin Orwat could be returned to Vermont to answer the murder and arson charges. It could not be determined if he has a lawyer.