Brother killed family in N.J. mansion over finances, set fire as cover-up, prosecutor says

Man accused of killing family in N.J. mansion

FREEHOLD, N.J. — Prosecutors say financial motives led a New Jersey technology executive to kill his brother, the brother's wife and their young children before setting fire to their two homes.

Authorities say 51-year-old Paul Caneiro killed the family in Colts Neck and then set fire to their home and his own. They said he set the fire at his own home to destroy evidence and to make it look like the extended family was being targeted.

Paul Caneiro was charged with murder in the deaths of his 50-year-old brother, Keith, along with Keith's wife Jennifer, and their two children.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the financial motive stemmed from two businesses the brothers ran in Asbury Park, a technology firm and a pest control company. He says he cannot detail their financial picture. He says his office has also launched a financial investigation.

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Booking photo of Paul Caneiro. Ocean Township Police Department

Paul Caneiro was also charged with aggravated arson, possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, according to court records cited by NJ.com. Authorities say both a gun and a knife were seized from Paul Caneiro. Prosecutors said previously that Keith Caneiro was fatally shot but have not yet confirmed how the other three were killed. The criminal complaint indicates Paul Caneiro may have used the seized knife to stab one or more of the other three victims.

Paul Caneiro has been in custody since authorities accused him of setting fire to his Ocean Township home on Nov. 20, hours before flames were discovered at the Colts Neck mansion where Keith Caneiro and his family lived. Prosecutors say they believe Paul Caneiro roused his sleeping wife and daughters, who were not injured in the blaze, at the Ocean Township home.

"The fire was effectively a ruse designed to make it appear as if the overall Caneiro family was somehow targeted," Gramiccioni said.

He called it the "most brutal" crime he'd seen in his career.

Paul Caneiro's lawyer, Robert A. Honecker, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the newest charges.

Honecker previously maintained his client was innocent and said his client was "devastated by the news of his brother and his family's deaths."

Police said Paul Caneiro used gasoline to fuel the fire at his two-story Colonial in Ocean Township, about 10 miles from his brother's $1.5 million home in Colts Neck.

Paul and Keith Caneiro were the principals in two businesses, a computer systems company called Square One and a pest control business, both housed above a trendy cafe in Asbury Park. Workers in the area frequently saw Paul Caneiro there.

Obituaries describe Keith's children as 11-year-old Jesse, who liked World War I and II history, video games and sports, and 8-year-old Sophia, who loved ice skating, ninja classes and making cookies with her nanny. Funeral services for the family are planned Sunday.