COLTS NECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities say a New Jersey man killed his brother, sister-in-law and the couple’s two children over financial issues involved in their shared business operations in Asbury Park.
Paul Caneiro, 51, was charged with four counts of murder, aggravated arson and weapons offenses on Thursday. He was previously arrested on arson charges in the burning of his own home.
Watch: Monmouth County Prosecutor Shares Update On Colts Neck Case
He is accused of shooting his brother, Keith Caneiro, 50, and fatally stabbing 45-year-old Jennifer Caneiro, 11-year-old Jesse Caneiro and 8-year-old Sophia Caneiro on Nov. 20.
“We allege that he shot and killed his brother when the brother came outside the home and then he returned inside the home, where he allegedly murdered the other three family members,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.
The family was found dead following a fire at their mansion in Colts Neck later that day.
Prosecutors said they were victims of “homicidal violence” before the fire. Investigators believe the fire, which started in the basement, served to destroy evidence of the earlier crime. According to the criminal complaint, Paul Caneiro also set fire to his own home in Ocean Township while his wife and two daughters were inside.
“We allege that the defendant intentionally set fire to his home 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,” Gramiccioni said. “We allege that it was a ruse.”
Investigators said the motive was financial. The brothers were business partners who owned a technology company and a pest control company in Asbury Park. A source told CBS2 the tech company was struggling and on the verge of shutting down. Paul Caneiro reportedly had an accident a few years ago and ended up on disability and walks with a cane. The prosecutor would not comment on his toxicology report.
In addition to the investigation into the killings, a financial investigation has been launched into the family’s business.
In a statement sent to the media, Paul Caniero’s layer said in part that his client maintains he is innocent, and that he had no reason to have committed these crimes. Paul is expected to have his first court hearing on Friday at 9 a.m.