A close relative of the family of four killed last week at their New Jersey mansion has been charged with four counts of murder and with arson, court records issued Thursday show.
Paul Caneiro, 51, stands accused of four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of illegal weapons possession and one count of aggravated arson, according to charges laid out Thursday morning in a complaint filed in Colts Neck Township, New Jersey, records show.
He has not entered a plea, the records show.
The charges against Caneiro note only that the offenses were committed on November 20.
On that date, Keith and Jennifer Caneiro and their children, Jesse, 11, and Sophia, 8, were killed and their Colts Neck mansion purposefully set on fire, authorities have said.
Keith Caneiro, who was Paul Caneiro’s younger brother and business partner, had been shot and was found in front of the home, and the other three victims were found severely burned inside the home. Authorities had no reason to believe there was “a suicide angle” in the case, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said at that time.
A prosecutor’s office spokesman declined to say whether the charges against Paul Caneiro relate to the death of his brother’s family. The prosecutor will share more details of the case Thursday during a previously scheduled 11 a.m. ET news conference, spokesman Chris Swendeman said.
Family member and business partner accused
Paul Caneiro was charged last week with one count of second-degree aggravated arson for allegedly trying to burn down his own house early on the morning of November 20 in Ocean Township, New Jersey, while his family was inside. His family survived the fire.
It was not immediately clear whether the arson charge listed in the complaint filed Thursday relates to the Ocean Township fire or is an additional arson charge.
The emergency call for the Colts Neck mansion fire came in at 12:38 p.m. — more than seven hours after the Ocean Township fire — and more than 20 fire departments responded.
Caneiro’s attorney, Robert Honecker, last week defended his client against the initial arson charge and any additional charges.
“My client maintains his innocence on this charge and any other potential charges,” he told CNN on Saturday. “His family fully support his defense of this charge. He fully expects to be vindicated when this case finally resolves.”
Paul and Keith Caneiro are listed as the sole officers of a company that involved the sale and service of computers, New Jersey business records show.
The pair registered an Asbury Park-based company named Jay-Martin Systems that was doing business as “Square One,” records dating to 2014 show. The company is described as engaging in the “sales and service of computers.” A 2007 filing indicates that Keith was the company’s president.
The brothers were best friends who talked almost daily, Honecker told CNN, adding he had no reason to believe there was animosity between them.