The New Jersey man who is charged with killing two men Saturday night at a Bedford hotel was released from prison early as part of that state’s effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Theodore Luckey, 42, of Asbury Park, was eligible for “public health emergency credits,” which under New Jersey law allowed certain inmates set to be released within a year to get time off their sentence. The law was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Theodore L. Luckey

THEODORE LUCKEY

Had been scheduled to be released by January 2022

Luckey, who was to be released as soon as Jan. 6, 2022, left prison on May 7, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Luckey was arrested Saturday night in New Hampshire and charged with two counts of second-degree murder and three counts of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon. Around 7 p.m., police responded to the Country Inn and Suites on South River Road in Bedford after receiving multiple 911 calls.

Luckey waived his arraignment Monday afternoon.

The victims were identified as Nathan Cashman, 28, of Manchester and David Hanford, 60, of Seaside Heights, N.J.

Cashman died of “multiple chop wounds” inflicted by a machete and was found in the lobby. Hanford was found strangled in a guest room, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The attorney general has declined to release any information on the circumstances of Luckey’s arrest.

The New Jersey early release law did not include inmates serving time for murder, aggravated sexual assault or sexual offenses where the conduct is characterized by a pattern of repetitive, compulsive behavior. No contact is allowed to be made with any of the victims of the crime upon release, according to the law.

More than 3,000 New Jersey prisoners were expected to be freed early under the law.

Luckey is not the first to New Jersey convict to be charged with murder after an early release. One man released in November was arrested for the fatal shooting of two people at a birthday party in January and another man was charged for his involvement in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old two days after his release.

In New Jersey, Luckey pleaded guilty in 2012 to two counts of kidnapping, one count of criminal restraint and one count of contempt. He served prison time in New Hampshire through an arrangement between the states.

He spent time at both Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin and the State Prison for Men in Concord between Oct. 11, 2016 and Feb. 5 this year, when he was returned to New Jersey.

Luckey and Cashman met in the state prison in Concord.

Luckey was to serve a minimum of 12 years, eight months and 28 days and a maximum of 15 years. He served approximately 12 years and one month, according to New Jersey corrections.

The New Jersey State Parole Board would not release the specific conditions of Luckey’s release because of the ongoing investigation.

Cashman was freed on Aug. 3, 2½ years early, after telling a judge he had changed his life.

Cashman, who was set to be released on Feb. 4, 2024, submitted a handwritten motion to suspend his sentence on March 23. He wrote that he “made significant changes from who he was to who he is now.”

Law enforcement officials appeared to be wrapping up their investigation at the hotel Wednesday .

Luckey is being held at the Valley Street jail.