The two Nova Scotia men accused of killing Harley Lawrence appeared in court Monday, as the family of the homeless man said it was "emotional" to see them in person for the first time.

Daniel Wayne Surette, 26, and Kyle James Fredericks, 25, appeared in Kentville provincial court and were remanded into custody until their case returns on May 26.

Both men were charged with first-degree murder after a six-month-long investigation into the death of Lawrence, who lived in Berwick in the province's Annapolis Valley.

Ron Lawrence, Harley's brother, said it was "emotional" to see the accused for the first time.

"They looked very scared and intimidated and I think they're getting the gravity of what they actually did, if it's proven in a court of law," he told reporters outside the courtroom.

Ron Lawrence, Harley Lawrence's brother

Ron Lawrence said his family is relieved charges have been laid in his brother's death. (CBC)

Surette and Fredericks were asked to review a list of the Crown's witnesses and promised not to contact anyone on that list. There are nearly 100 people who have been questioned by police and may be expected to testify if the case goes to trial.

The pair was transported to Kentville provincial court separately and authorities say they'll continue to be kept apart.

Surette's mother wept quietly during the hearing and leaned on others for support as she was escorted in and out of the courtroom.

Lawrence's body was found in the morning hours of Oct. 23 in a burned out bus shelter. At the time, the 62-year-old man was homeless and sleeping on the streets of Berwick.

Local residents said he began using the bus shelter for refuge as temperatures dipped last fall.

Police say neither accused knew Lawrence.

Ron Lawrence said his family is "holding in there" as the case begins its journey through the justice system.

"It's been a long few months and helping to support the family and work," he said Monday.

"It was the sense of knowing that something was being done about my brother's death and was part of the closure for myself and the family."

Family trying to move on

Both Surette and Fredericks are familiar with Nova Scotia’s courts.

Surette pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a female victim who was under the age of 16 in late December 2010.He also pleaded guilty to assaulting his mother on New Year's Day 2011.

Fredericks was tried and acquitted of criminal negligence causing the death of Joshua Graves. He pleaded guilty to escaping custody while that case was in court.

Amy Graves, Joshua's sister, says she was speechless when she heard his name again.

"I think the community in general is going to have a big interest. I don't think it's just my family. But I there's a lot of unanswered questions how something could happen like this," she said.

Pastor John Andrew says his focus is on the Lawrence family.

He says he's been close with them since Lawrence died and he was with them Friday night when the arrests were announced.

"I don't sense bitterness in them. I don't sense any of those things, they want to forgive and move past this and work together as a family to heal," he said.

Police have not released a cause of death.