AUGUSTA, Maine — The New York man charged with two counts of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of a local couple early Christmas morning made his first court appearance Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center.

David W. Marble Jr., 29, of Rochester, New York, and Augusta was not asked by Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy to enter pleas as he has not yet been indicted by the Kennebec County grand jury. The Kennebec County grand jury is next scheduled to convene on Jan. 22.

Marble was dressed in orange jail clothes Wednesday. His ankles were shackled, and his hands remained handcuffed at his waist.

Marble clearly said “yes” when Murphy asked if he understood the charges.

Marble was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged in connection with the shooting deaths of Eric Williams, 35, and Bonnie Royer, 26, both of Augusta, who were found inside their SUV along Sanford Road in Manchester. Police said the shootings were drug related.

More than a dozen members of the victims’ families and friends attended the brief hearing. All but Royer’s paternal grandfather, Paul Mansir Sr. of Pittston, left the courthouse without speaking to the press. He spoke briefly to reporters at an impromptu press conference outside the courthouse.

Mansir said that his son, Royer’s father, was doing “about as could be expected.” He said that he has not seen his great-granddaughter, Royer’s daughter, 6-year-old McKenzie, who is living with her father in Cumberland County.

“There isn’t much you can do, though. You just have to move on,” he said.

A account has been set up to raise money to cover Royer’s funeral expenses. As of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, 32 people in three days had contributed $1,670 toward the $5,000 goal.

The page was set up by Vicky Beloin, who identified herself as the girlfriend of Royer’s father, Paul Mansir Jr. of Whitefield.

“The family was blindsided with the tragic news Christmas Day when we were told that Bonnie was gone,” the gofundme page states. “It was completely out of the blue, and unexpected. We are all just trying to process what has happened.

“You can never really prepare when someone you love passes, but it’s even harder when it’s someone so young. She was full of life, and had such a kind, big heart. She loved her family very much,” the gofundme page states.

Marble will be held without bail at the Kennebec County Jail until an April 8 hearing. He may waive the hearing and agree to be held without bail pending the outcome of the case. If bail were to be set, it most likely would be high because until recently Marble lived out of state.

At the time of the homicides, Marble was living in an Augusta apartment, according to Maine State Police. Information about how long he had lived there before he was arrested has not been released.

Marble has a criminal history in New York, according to the Office of Court Administration in the New York State Unified Court System. He was convicted in 2006 and 2009 of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Both times he served sentences of less than six months.

In 2010, Marble was convicted of 3rd degree robbery and sentenced to two to four years of probation.

Murphy also granted the prosecution’s motion to seal the affidavit in the case until after Marble is indicted because the investigation by the Maine State Police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency is ongoing.

Defense attorneys Pamela Ames and David Geller, both of Waterville, were appointed to represent Marble. Ames said outside the courthouse that she had just received the affidavit and had not had time to go over it with her client.

Williams had a criminal history in Maine that included convictions for misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct. Royer had no criminal history in Maine.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese said Wednesday outside the courthouse that the investigation is continuing but declined to answer specific questions about what type of drug or drugs might have been involved. She said that Marble and the victims knew each other but did not say how or for how long. Marchese also declined to say whether more arrests in the case are expected.

Williams and Royer lived together on Easy Street in Augusta, less than a mile from where the vehicle was found on the side of Sanford Road, state police spokesman Stephen McCausland said earlier. Sanford Road is a dirt road near a number of sand and gravel pits. There are no houses in the immediate area.

McCausland said one of the victims called 911 about 3:30 a.m. on Christmas. The name of the person who made the call has not been released.

If convicted, Marble faces between 29 years, because of the use of a firearm, and life in prison.

Marchese said outside the courthouse that because there were two victims, Marble, if convicted, could be ordered to serve the sentences consecutively.

A memorial vigil is planned for the couple from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday outside their Augusta home, according to the Kennebec Journal.

Williams’ funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Plummer Funeral Home in Augusta.