SYDNEY -- Two people accused of killing a Cape Breton man made their first court appearance in Sydney on Tuesday.

For the first time, the family of 41-year-old Stephen Rose came face-to-face with his alleged killers, and emotions were high.

"It's just heartbreaking," said Rose's cousin, George Woodberry. "Nobody ever wins in a situation like this."

Thirty-three-year-old Jessica MacDonald arrived at the Sydney courthouse Tuesday morning, while her co-accused, 37-year-old Joey Evong, appeared by video.

Both face charges of first-degree murder after Cape Breton Regional Police say they interviewed several witnesses and collected evidence through multiple search warrants.

Rose's body was found inside a Rotary Drive apartment building a week ago.

"Nobody ever really done Steve wrong and I still can't make sense of it," Woodberry said. "I don't understand."

As the family grieves, support has poured in.

A sign that says "We love you Steve Rose" was put up on Prince Street a few days ago and the family has no idea who put it here, but they say it's making this unimaginable process a little easier.

"On behalf of the family, I want to thank whoever put that sign up in Steve Rose's memory," Woodward said. "And, you know what? We all do love Steve Rose."

Richard Rose, Stephen's brother, spoke to CTV on Monday and said his worry is for his brother's children -- four boys between the ages of three and 12. 

"His oldest teetering on becoming a young man himself and a baby that is now not going to know him," Richard Rose said.

The accused will be back in court later this month.

Both Evong and MacDonald are to have no contact with 13 people.

Their first court appearance is just the beginning of a long and what the family says will be a painful process.