Paul Caneiro wore a green jail outfit and handcuffs in Monmouth County Superior Court for his first court appearance since being charged in the deaths of his brother, Keith Caneiro, 50, Keith’s 45-year-old wife, Jennifer, and their children, Sophia, 8, and Jesse, 11.
His lawyer Robert Honecker Jr. entered not guilty pleas on his behalf after the prosecutor read aloud the charges set forth in two criminal complaints.
Victims: Paul Caneiro prosecutors said, first shot his brother Keith [right], before invading the home and stabbing the victim’s wife Jennifer [left] repeatedly. he then set their mansion on fire
Victims: The killer also knifed his 11-year-old nephew Jesse [left], to death and his niece Sophia, 8, to death. Both bodies were found, badly burned in the torched home
A day earlier, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni described the quadruple murder as “one of the most brutal cases I’ve seen in my experience here,” Gramiccioni said as he announced the charges a week after the killings.
The 51-year-old suspect, who is also charged with arson, didn’t put up a fight for bail.
“Your honor, my client has indicated that he wishes to consent and waive his right to have a detention hearing,” Honecker told Judge James McGann as Caneiro sat in the jury box, looking dazed and downcast.
A scruffy, unshaven Paul Caneiro was silent at the hearing, except for answering “I do” to several questions the judge asked after reading him his rights.
Alleged killer Paul was not only the older brother to Keith [right], the man he is accused of killing, the siblings were also partners in several businesses
Asked whether he had taken any drugs or alcohol on Friday, Caneiro replied, “I have not.”
He’s due back in court Jan. 3. It was unclear why Caneiro was limping.
In announcing the murder charges against Caneiro on Thursday, prosecutors outlined the disturbing Nov. 20 murders that have shocked the affluent community in Monmouth County.
They said Caneiro gunned down his brother and business partner, Keith, outside his million-dollar manse, then stormed inside to repeatedly stab Jennifer and the two children to death. Caneiro then set fire to the house, and drove back to his own home in Ocean Township to start another home fire, to make it look like he, too, was a victim.
“The defendant intentionally set fire in his house at or about 5 a.m. for the purpose of both destroying evidence of his earlier crimes in Colts Neck and to also create the illusion that the overall Caneiro family was somehow victimized or targeted,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Thursday.
Caneiro and his brother were business partners in two Asbury Park-based IT ventures — Square One and Jay-Martin Consulting. Prosecutors claim his motive to kill was “financial in nature” and connected to the brothers’ businesses.
Related: Brother of dead tech company CEO arrested for arson – Keith Caneiro was shot, his wife Jennifer found dead, along with their two young children in huge blaze that gutted their New Jersey mansion Tuesday
Keith and Jennifer Caneiro’s home was completely destroyed by the multi alarm fire on Nov 20Murder and arson suspect Paul Caneiro who walks with the aid of a cane seen on the right with his wife Susan as well as their daughters Marissa [left],and Katelyn [send right].
The suspect’s family were all at home when he allegedly set it on fire, and stood around lamenting the loss. The Ocean Township, NJ, home, 10 miles away from the murder scene, was partially destroyed
No one was injured in the blaze at Paul Caneiro’s home. His wife, Susan, and adult daughters, Katelyn, 26, and Marissa, 23, were inside at the time but managed to escape.
Paul Caneiro’s family was not in court Friday, although they have called him a hero for saving them from the burning home and pledged to testify on his behalf.
“His family is supporting him but it’s just with what was going on this morning, we felt it better and safer for them not to be here,” Caneiro’s other lawyer, Richard Ansell, explained outside the courthouse.
“We were consenting to detention. There was not going to be a hearing today so there really was no need for them to be here.”
Ansell reiterated that the suspect was innocent of the charges: “Paul Caneiro loved his brother, loved his sister-in-law like a sister, loved those children,” he said. “He would never do anything to harm them. There is no reason on this Earth to have harmed them.”
His lawyers said they’ve received not a shred of evidence against their client but refused to speculate who was behind the murders.
“We are not now going to give you hypotheses as to who did this,” Ansell said. “This process now is to search for the truth. Our client maintains his innocence at this time and the process is now going to unfold.”