HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The man accused in the shocking murder of a Bergen County mother and her 5-year-old daughter appeared in court on Thursday.

As Michael Brady walked into the courtroom, his family and the family of the two people he’s accused of murdering sat across from him, surrounded by a dozen sheriff’s officers.

Prosecutors said Brady, a janitor at a school, killed his girlfriend, Tammy Pitts-Gaddy, by repeatedly stabbing her following an argument inside their New Jersey home, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

Then, investigators said, he turned to her 5-year-old daughter, who had witnessed the crime, suffocating her by holding a plastic bag over her head.

Pitts-Gaddy’s sister said the family is devastated.

“We do ask that you all pray for our family,” said the victim’s sister.

Brady’s attorney entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf.

After the brutal murders inside the Englewood home, Brady came back with Pitts-Gaddy’s family, pretending to discover the bodies inside, investigators said.

“He pulled his car to the window, acted like he lost his keys to the house and climbed on top of his car and went into bedroom window,” said the victim’s friend, Crystal Williams.

Then friends said the 34-year-old went to the basement, where little Natasia Gaddy’s body was.

Friends claim Brady was abusive.

“I wish she had told her family. I wish she had because they are a loving family,” said the victim’s friend, Felicia Smith.

Brady is being held on $2 million bail.

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