Clark T. Fredericks, 47, of Fredon, N.J., and Robert A. Reynolds, 47, of Hackettstown, N.J., appeared in court, where they were charged with the first-degree murder of Dennis Pegg, 68, of Stillwater, the New Jersey Herald reported. Bail was set at $350,000 cash each.
Pegg was stabbed repeatedly in his home Tuesday and his throat was cut. Investigators say both men were involved, each using a knife.
Investigators were trying to determine if there had been a link between the suspects and victim before Pegg was killed.
Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Greg Mueller said the evidence against Fredericks and Reynolds is overwhelming.
"This is not a who-done-it case," Mueller said. "This is the type of case where the why-did-they-do-it is in question."
Fredericks' mother was responsible for the discovery of Pegg's body, Mueller said.
"Fredericks' mother contacted a counselor they knew and told her that her son came home covered in blood," Mueller said. "She feared he may have killed Pegg, so she called the State Police and asked them to do a well-being check on him."
Pegg was a well-known amateur local historian who served as president of the Sussex County Historical Society and secretary of the Stillwater group.
Former County Sheriff Robert Untig said that when he worked in the county jail Pegg, who retired in the 1990s, tried to help inmates turn their lives around.