Barney Gamble, 48, is charged with the murders of 65-year-old Sue Ann Beasley and her husband, 66-year-old L.C. Beasley.
Gamble spent a few seconds before the judge.
Dozens of people lined up inside and outside the Johnston County courtroom.
Investigators say Sue Ann Beasley's body was found last Thursday in her Four Oaks home. She was tied to a chair and the home was set on fire.
About 100 yards away from the house, deputies found L.C. Beasley shot to death.
Deputies say Gamble also lived in Four Oaks, knew L.C. Beasley, and was a frequent visitor to the home that investigators are linking to illegal drug and moonshine sales.
Some of the Beasley's neighbors say L.C. was known to keep cash handy.
Gamble asked Judge Albert Corbett for a court appointed attorney. In addition to the murder charge, he is charged with kidnapping, arson and auto theft.
The Beasley's pickup truck was found abandoned about ten miles away from their home.
Gamble is scheduled to return to court on February 11.