Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said that the Colts Neck murders of Keith Caneiro and his family were the most brutal he has witnessed in his career and that he would prosecute the case as a Captial Crime if New Jersey had the death penalty.
Paul Caneiro, 51 of Ocean Township, is charged with four counts of murder, aggravated arson and weapons charges, in the deaths of his brother Keith, Jennifer Caneiro, Keith’s wife, and the couples children, Jesse, 11 and Sophia 8, on November 20 at their home in Colts Neck.
“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 during a press conference this morning in Freehold.
The murders occurred in the early morning hours of November 20. After setting the fire in the Colts Neck home, the defendant returned to his Ocean Township home which he set on fire with the intention of destroying evidence brought from Colts Neck and to create the ruse that both brothers were targeted for death by a third party. The Ocean Township fire was reported at 5:01 a.m.
Caneiro was charged with aggravated arson of his home last Wednesday and has been in custody since his arrest. While the defendant’s wife and adult daughters were in the Ocean Township home, he is not charge in their attempted murder. Gramiccioni said he does not believe the defendant intended to kill his wife or daughters.
Gramiccioni said the State believes that the motive for the murders was financial and related to the businesses that the brothers operated in Asbury Park.
The defendants detention hearing is scheduled for Friday morning, November 30 at 9 a.m. before Judge James J. McGann in Assignment Judge Lisa Thorton’s Court Room. Gramiccioni said that the prosecution will ask that Caneiro remain in custody pending his trail.
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.