Mass. man pleads not guilty to Townshend murders

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WCAX) A Massachusetts man accused of murdering two Vermonters made his first appearance in a Vermont court Monday.

Justin Orwat

Family and friends of two murder victims in Townshend are speaking out after the man accused of the killings appeared before a judge Monday.

According to court documents, a drug fueled argument began a chain of events that led to the discovery of two bodies in a charred home in Townshend. Monday, the man accused of those murders appeared before a judge.

Police say 46-year-old Justin Orwat shot two housemates this past October after they accused him of stealing. Court papers say that Orwat then set the house on fire. That's something police say he admitted to his wife, Tami, who was also in the home at the time.

"They took care of Justin and Tami, and then this is what they did to them. We are very upset by that. We could live 150 years and not be able to wrap our head around what these folks have done," said Billiejo Fournier, the sister of Steven Lovely.

The bodies of 43-year-old Steven Lovely and his girlfriend, 35-year-old Amanda Sanderson, were found inside the torched home. Orwat had been staying there for a couple of weeks. Both men where allegedly high on several drugs the night of the shooting and fire -- including bath salts, cocaine, heroin, and Klonopin.

Fournier say that the two men first met in jail. "Somebody who fed them and took then in in their time of need. That is the type of brother -- person -- my brother was," she said.

Orwat's wife told police she heard the gunshots, but was in another room. Papers state she jumped out a window because she did not want to witness what happened in the other room.

"Sad, very sad. We are going to miss Steven forever. And this guy -- I hope he gets life," said Diane Lovely, Steven's sister.

Orwat pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include arson. He is being held without bail.