A neighbor jumped a fence after hearing the women scream and hit their assailant, 25-year-old Morgan Mesz, in the head with a baseball bat, ending the attacks, authorities said.
The stabbings occurred at around 6 a.m. when the two women, ages 50 and 53, went into their backyard and saw the contents of their shed strewn across the lawn, Union Township Police Director Dan Zieser told The Star-Ledger of Newark. The shed door, though, was closed.
Mesz, armed with a knife and hatchet, pounced on the pair after one woman opened the shed door, authorities said. Authorities later said Mesz told them that he cleared out the shed as he sought the "portal to hell."
The older woman was in critical condition at University Hospital in Newark, Zieser said. The other woman was also taken there and was listed in serious but stable condition. The neighbor, who was slashed several times, was treated for minor injuries and later released.
Mesz would be undergoing a psychological evaluation, authorities said. They did not know if Mesz had an attorney, and no phone number for him was immediately found.
Township authorities and the Union County prosecutor's office were investigating the matter. The prosecutor's office declined to comment but said more details would be disclosed later Friday.