A Glace Bay man accused of murdering two young women has made his first court appearance in Sydney since being charged in the cases last week.

Thomas Ted Barrett, 37, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon and Laura Catherine Jessome, both 21.

Morgan MacNeil, 21, Barrett’s co-accused in the Jessome case, also appeared in court today, by videolink. The pair will be tried in the case together.

“Both Mr. Barrett and Mr. Morgan MacNeil are now jointly charged with the murder of Laura Jessome,” says Chief Crown attorney Dan MacRury. “The old single-count information was withdrawn.”

Jessome’s body was found inside a hockey bag, floating on the Mira River near Marion Bridge in May 2012.

Her mother, Edna, and other family members faced the young woman’s alleged killers in court today. They left without speaking to reporters.

While Barrett and MacNeil were charged separately in the case, MacRury says one trial will be easier on Jessome’s family, as opposed to two trials.  

“So that witnesses don’t have to testify twice; it makes total sense to have one trial as opposed to two trials,” says MacRury. “It makes it easier for the victim’s families to only have to go through it on one occasion as well.”

Barrett is also facing a charged of second-degree murder in the death of Brett MacKinnon, who disappeared from her Glace Bay apartment in June 2006. Her skeletal remains were found in November 2008 near a nature trail in the town.

John Wayne Hynes, 33, of Glace Bay is charged with being an accessory after the fact in MacKinnon’s death.

Barrett was arrested in Halifax last week, where he was already in custody on another matter.

In a strange twist to the story, Barrett is facing additional charges after an alleged incident at police headquarters in Halifax.

Police say Barrett attacked an investigator while he was being interrogated, tried to damage video surveillance with a chair and doused a computer with water.

Police say he also threatened to kill the officer and spat on him. The officer was not injured.

Barrett is facing charges of assaulting a police officer, uttering death threats and two counts of property damage in connection with the alleged incident.

He was remanded to the Cape Breton Correctional Facility after today’s court appearance.

Barrett and MacNeil’s cases were adjourned until March 25 to allow the Crown and defence more time for disclosure.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald