Brother of man found dead with his family at burning New Jersey mansion charged with murder

The brother of the man found dead at his burned massive New Jersey home with his wife and two children was charged with murder Thursday.

Paul Caneiro is charged with four counts of murder in the deaths of Keith Caneiro, 50, his wife, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, and their two children Jesse, 11, and Sophia, 8, who were found dead on Nov. 20 at their home in the wealthy community of Colts Neck, New Jersey, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's office.

Caneiro, 51, is also charged with aggravated arson, possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose. He has an initial court appearance set for Friday morning.

Paul's Ocean Township home went up in flames, with his wife and two daughters inside, on the same morning as his brother's. He was arrested and charged with aggravated arson on Nov. 21 for allegedly setting that fire and has been in custody since. No injuries were reported in that fire.

21 PHOTOS
Mansion fire deaths in Colts Neck, New Jersey
See Gallery
Mansion fire deaths in Colts Neck, New Jersey
In this image made from a video provided by WABC firefighters battle a fatal fire on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck, N.J. The Monmouth County prosecutor's office says the fire has taken multiple victims. (WABC via AP)
FILE - This Nov. 21, 2018, booking file photo provided by the Ocean Township Police Department shows Paul Caneiro. Caniero has been charged with setting his own family home on fire on the same day as fire destroyed his brother and business partner's home home. The bodies of his brother, sister-in-law and their two children were found at Keith Canerio's Colts N.J. home. No one has yet been charged for their murders. (Ocean Township Police Department, File)
Firefighters carry a stretcher to the scene of a fatal fire at 15 Willow Brook Rd. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the fire continues to burn late Tuesday afternoon at the two-story home in Colts Neck. He says one body was found out front. He is not yet identifying the victims.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
The site of a quadruple homicide and a fire is seen in Colts Neck, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. 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. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
In this image made from a video provided by WABC firefighters battle a fatal fire on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck, N.J. The Monmouth County prosecutor's office says the fire has taken multiple victims. (WABC via AP)
Authorities gather Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J., to investigate the aftermath of fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead the day before at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni speaks at a news conference in Freehold, N.J., Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. A homeowner who died along with his wife and two children as their luxury home went up in flames suffered a gunshot wound and all four are considered to be homicide victims, prosecutors in New Jersey said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
In this image made from a video provided by WABC firefighters battle a fatal fire on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck, N.J. The Monmouth County prosecutor's office says the fire has taken multiple victims. (WABC via AP)
Pedestrians walk away from the scene of a fatal at 15 Willow Brook Rd. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the fire continues to burn late Tuesday afternoon at the two-story home in Colts Neck. He says one body was found out front. He is not yet identifying the victims.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Law enforcement officials gather Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J., to investigate the aftermath of fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead the day before at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Tributes are hung on a fence in front of the house that was the site of a quadruple homicide in Colts Neck, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. 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. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
This image released by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, shows Paul Caneiro, who prosecutor charged Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, with aggravated arson. He's accused of setting fire to his own home in Ocean Township, N.J. That fire took place early Tuesday morning before authorities responded to a deadly blaze at the Colts Neck mansion owned by Caneiro's brother Keith and Keith's wife, Jennifer.
Colts Neck and Howell police officers block the road Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Colts Neck, N.J., leading to the scene of a fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead the day before at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Tributes are hung on a fence in front of the house that was the site of a quadruple homicide in Colts Neck, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. 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. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2018 file photo, authorities gather in Colts Neck, N.J., to investigate the aftermath of fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. The bodies of Keith Caneiro, his wife Jennifer Caneiro, their children Jesse, 11, and Sophia 8, were found at the scene: all victims of an apparent homicide. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray, File)
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni speaks during a news conference in Freehold, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. 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. Paul Caneiro is now charged with murder in the deaths of 50-year-old Keith Caneiro, his 45-year-old wife Jennifer and their children, 11-year-old Jesse and 8-year-old Sophia. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Firefighters work the scene of a fatal at 15 Willow Brook Rd. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says the fire continues to burn late Tuesday afternoon at the two-story home in Colts Neck. He says one body was found out front. He is not yet identifying the victims.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, center, speaks during a news conference in Freehold, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. 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. Paul Caneiro is now charged with murder in the deaths of 50-year-old Keith Caneiro, his 45-year-old wife Jennifer and their children, 11-year-old Jesse and 8-year-old Sophia. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Authorities gather Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Colts Neck,N.J., to investigate the aftermath of fatal fire that killed two children and two adults. Authorities say two adults and two children were found dead the day before at the scene of a burning mansion near the New Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
There have been multiple fatalities at a house fire in Colts Neck, New Jersey, officials say.… https://t.co/T8Dr2X6UJP
I’m being told multiple fatalities in a fire at a large house in Colts Neck. Stay tuned for more details. https://t.co/6dFGoDWXT8
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The lawyer representing him in that case, Robert Honecker, told NBC News that he was waiting until after the prosecutor's 11 a.m. ET press conference to comment, but he didn't immediately respond after the presser.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said during a news conference Thursday that prosecutors believe the motive was financial in nature and an investigation into the brothers' finances was underway.

The Caneiro brothers worked together heading two companies, a tech company called Square One and a pest control business, which were both located in Asbury Park.

Gramiccioni said Paul shot Keith outside when he was confronted by his brother. Keith's cause of death has been ruled a homicide by multiple gunshot wounds.

Image: Paul Caniero(Paul Caniero via Ocean Township Police Department/AP)

Jennifer was shot and stabbed, while Jesse and Sophia also had stab wounds, according to the criminal complaint. All three bodies were found inside the burning home and the medical examiner is still determining their causes of death.

After setting fire to his brother's home, Paul returned to his own home and started a fire there to destroy evidence from the murders and to "create the illusion that the overall Caneiro family was victimized or targeted," Gramiccioni said. "We allege that it was a ruse."

Investigators believe Caneiro acted alone. Each murder charge carries a sentence of 30 years to life in prison. New Jersey does not have the death penalty, but Gramiccioni said he would have pursued capital punishment if he could.

"This one is the most brutal cases that I’ve seen in my experience here," Gramiccioni said.

A joint wake and funeral for the four members of the Caneiro family will be held on Dec. 2., according to online obituaries for the family.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.