ABERDEEN, N.C. (WNCN) — Two people have been charged with two counts of murder in the death of a Moore County elderly couple, the sheriff announced Wednesday.

Tony Chad Patterson, of Aberdeen, was arrested late Tuesday in connection with the deaths of D.P. and Mary Lou Black, 91 and 86, respectively, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said.

Tim Cooper, 45 of Carthage, was arrested Wednesday morning and has also been charged with two counts of murder in connection with the case.

Both suspects are being held behind bars under no bond.

“We are very confident that we have the killers behind bars,” Fields said.

The investigation revealed that one suspect knew the victims in the case and that the motive was likely robbery, the sheriff said. Jewelry and several other items appeared to have been taken. Both victims were shot, Fields said.

He added that additional charges, including robbery, are anticipated.

The couple was found just before 6 p.m. on July 9 at their home on Roseland Road just outside of Aberdeen.

The Blacks were well-known businesses owners in Moore County, and well-loved in their community.

“They were just great people, very loyal to the community here and to their local churches,” Fields told CBS 17.

The Blacks were found following a welfare check. The sheriff said an employee was concerned when Mary Lou Black didn’t show up to pick up the employee, so deputies were called to do a welfare check.

D.P. Black was found on the porch and Mary Lou Black was found inside the house, deputies said.

Fields said his office was interviewing all of Black’s employees and investigators are also waiting for autopsy results.

“Mr. Black was into several businesses, heavy equipment as you can see here that he had,” Fields said, pointing to the equipment the couple stored on a parcel of land across from their home. “And he had workers that would come in daily and different ones that he hired. What I call day employees that would come in and do odd jobs, things like that.”

Tony Patterson and Tim Cooper (Moore County Detention Center)

“I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do feel with the evidence that we have thus far that they were targeted,” Fields said earlier in the week.

Fields announced Wednesday that Patterson had previously been employed by the couple and it’s not clear if he had been fired or was still working for them.

Cooper was never employed by the Blacks, Fields said. It’s not known if he had any connection to the elderly couple.

Records for Patterson obtained by CBS 17 show that he was previously charged with exploiting the elderly or a disabled adult in May 2017. It’s not known who the victims were in the case. He served 15 days after his conviction, records show.

His exploiting the elderly charge came just months after he was released from prison after serving nearly 11 years. He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, first-degree burglary, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and common law robbery in April 2006. The crimes occurred in July and October 2005 and February 2006, according to records. He was imprisoned from April 4, 2006, until March 28, 2017.

Patterson’s arrest history dates back to at least 1996 and includes multiple charges of assaulting an officer, DWI, felony breaking-and-entering, indecent exposure, and violating a protective order.

Records for Cooper show that he is a convicted sex offender. He was convicted of indecent liberties with a child in Moore County in June 2010 and was released in late October 2011. The crime occurred in August 2008, according to prison records.

Following his release from prison, Cooper failed to register as a sex offender and was convicted on that charge in November 2012. He was also convicted of failing to notify authorities about an address change in August 2013. He served another 18 months combined in prison on both charges.

Cooper also has a history of drug and larceny charges. In 2018, he was convicted of assault by strangulation and served around six and a half months before his release in April 2019.

Patterson was brought to the Moore County Detention Center just after 11 p.m. Tuesday. Cooper was booked at 12:13 a.m. Wednesday. They are both scheduled to appear in court today.

Fields said he believes that there is enough evidence to pursue the death penalty for both men.

“I feel like this is a capital case and I understand, and I’m hoping and praying that he goes for the death penalty,” he said.