An elderly couple was killed in what officials described as a “cowardly” murder in North Carolina.
Two men, including a former employee of the couple, now face murder charges in connection to their deaths.
“I feel like this is a capital case,” said Ronnie Fields, Sheriff of Moore County, North Carolina.
On July 9, police responded to check on the couple at their Aberdeen, North Carolina, home and found D.P. Black, 91, and his wife Mary Lou Black, 86, dead. Police launched a massive investigation and offered a $2,000 reward for information on the case.
Deputies arrested Tony Patterson, 42, and Tim Cooper, 45, in connection to the homicide on July 13, Fields said at a July 14 press conference. Both men face two counts of murder and are being held in jail.
Fields said investigators determined robbery was the motive for the killing as jewelry and other items were taken from the home.
The sheriff described the killing and “cowardly act.”
Patterson used to work for D.P. Black as a laborer, but the sheriff declined to say if he was fired.
The Blacks were known throughout the community and through their church, Bethesda Presbyterian, in Moore County. Their pastor, David Hudson, told CBS17 the couple was longtime members of the congregation and they would give fruit away to others.
Landis Donaghy, a relative of the couple, posted on social media about the loss.
“They always made me feel special and loved, and whenever I came to N.C .held a dinner with all of our family, I am so honored to have called them family,” he wrote.
Fields said deputies followed every lead and tip to make the arrest in the case. He added the couple’s death impacted the entire county.
“D.P. and Mary Loy were pillars of our community,” Fields said. “This death has been a tremendous loss for us all.”