Clarence Williams, 26, and Gerry Thomas, 28, both of Paterson, were arrested Monday and charged with felony murder, conspiracy to commit felony murder, robbery, arson and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.
In court Tuesday, the suspects pleaded not guilty as the families of the victims looked on.
The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office identified the victims as 27-year-old Aaron Anderson and 25-year-old Antonio Vega Jr., both of Paterson. Their deaths were ruled homicides.
They were discovered dead Friday morning in an Audi S Line registered to Kim DePaola, who has appeared regularly on the "Real Housewives of New Jersey."
Her son had given the car to one of the victims while he was out of town.
The car was found near the intersection of East 28th Street and 14th Avenue in Paterson. It was set on fire and the two bodies were found inside.
Police said both victims had been shot in the back of the head.
Sources say the motive was robbery.
The mother of victim Aaron Anderson, Michele Ryerson, could barely contain her anger in court, and the judge asked her to hold together.
She revealed her son knew one of the accused killers. "My son trusted the one, he was my nephew's best friend," she said.
It's not clear what, if anything, was taken from the victims. But both Thomas and Williams have records of drug arrests.
The families of the victims are starting to get some answers, but still have more questions.
"There's a lot more to the story," said family member Deborah Hernandez.
For now they are trying to provide comfort for the young children that both victims left behind.
"She walks around telling everyone, he's my dad and he's my guardian angel in heaven. No kid should have to go through that," said Hernandez.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on each of the felony murder charges.
Both are due back in court Friday for a detention hearing, where a judge will decide if bail will be set or if they will remain in custody until trial.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.) null