Colts Neck Family of Four Killed by Brother Who Set Fire to House to Conceal Crimes
PHOTO: Paul J. Caneiro, 51, of Tilton Avenue in Ocean Township, is charged with one count of second degree Aggravated Arson in connection with a fire Tuesday at his residence. Investigators are urging anyone with any information about this incident to call 800-533-7443.
FREEHOLD – The brother of a Colts Neck man found dead along with his wife and two children at their burned out home just days before Thanksgiving has been charged with their murders and setting fire to their suburban home, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Paul J. Caneiro, 51, is charged with four counts of first degree Murder, and one count of second degree Aggravated Arson, second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose and third degree Possession of a Knife for an Unlawful Purpose in connection with the slaying of his brother Keith Caneiro, 50, his sister-in-law Jennifer, 45, nephew Jesse, 11, and 8-year-old niece Sophia on Nov. 20, 2018. Caneiro was previously charged last week with purposefully setting fire to his Ocean Township home that same morning while his wife and two daughters slept. Caneiro is charged with one count of second degree Aggravated Arson in connection with the fire at his Tinton Avenue residence the morning of the murders.
“We allege Paul Caneiro repeatedly shot and killed his brother Keith, then moved on to murder the rest of the Caneiro family. Keith Caneiro was shot multiple times, Jennifer Caneiro was shot and stabbed, and the two Caneiro children were stabbed multiple times with a knife. After murdering his brother’s family, Paul Caneiro set fire to the Colts Neck house at 15 Willow Brook Road in an effort to conceal or disguise his crimes,” Prosecutor Gramiccioni said.
Paul Caneiro was served with the charges earlier today at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) in Freehold Township. He is being detained in MCCI on the Aggravated Arson charge filed against him last week. Caneiro is scheduled for a first appearance and detention review hearing on that charge tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James J. McGann. A first appearance and detention hearing on the new murder, aggravated arson and weapons charges is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 before Judge McGann.
The joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Colts Neck and Ocean Township police departments has expanded to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office. The joint investigation has revealed Paul Caneiro’s motive for the crimes were financial in nature and stem from his joint business ventures based in Asbury Park with his brother Keith Caneiro.
Anyone with information about the Colts Neck murders and arson is asked to call Detective Patrick Petruzziello of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Detective Richard Zarrillo of the Colts Neck Police Department at 732-780-7323.
Anyone with information about the Ocean Township arson is urged to call Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Detective Christopher Brady of the Ocean Township Police Department at 732-531-1428.
If convicted of Murder, Paul Caneiro faces on each count a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.
If convicted of Aggravated Arson, Caneiro faces a sentence of five to ten years in prison, subject to the provisions of the NERA requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.
If convicted of Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, Paul Caneiro faces a sentence of five to ten years in prison, and an additional sentence of three to five years in prison on the charge of Possession of a Knife for an Unlawful Purpose.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau and Assistant Prosecutor Nicole Wallace.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
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