FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey man is accused of strangling his cousin and her 10-year-old foster daughter after he was caught taking pornographic photographs of the young girl, authorities said.
Brian Farmer, 58, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 62-year-old Joan Colbert and her foster daughter Veronica Roach.
The two were found dead in their first floor apartment in Long Branch on Aug. 1.
Investigators determined Farmer killed Colbert and the girl after his cousin found him taking pornographic photographs of the child on July 30, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Detectives discovered pictures of the child on Farmer’s cell phone, prosecutors said.
Farmer also faces child endangerment and child pornography charges.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, Farmer is a registered sex offender and convicted arsonist.
A family friend told reporters she remembered Farmer had a record and tipped off investigators.
In 1984, Farmer was sentenced to five years for sex assault. He reoffended in 1996 when he sexually assaulted a young teenage girl and held her and her mother captive for three days. When they escaped, he burned down their home, CBS 2 reported.
Farmer served 13 years and was released in 2009 as a “tier 2” sex offender and was considered a “moderate risk” to reoffend, CBS 2 reported.
A neighbor who knew Colbert said one good thing has come out of this tragedy.
“Someone with an evil spirit has been removed from the streets,” the neighbor told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.
Farmer reportedly attended a memorial service for the victims after they were found dead.
“It’s just unheard of, it’s inhumane, just ridiculous. That girl didn’t’ do anything to you and neither did the mother,” one Long Branch resident said.
“I hope they bury him under the jail,” another resident said.
He is being held on $2.5 million cash bail and faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted of both murder charges.
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