FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey man accused of killing his brother and his brother’s family at their Colts Neck mansion appeared before a judge for the first time Friday.
Watch: Paul Caneiro Appears In Court
The court hearing focused on allegations Paul Caneiro set fire to his own home while his wife and two daughters were inside.
He faces four counts of murder, aggravated arson and weapons charges.
Caneiro’s attorneys entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
He was ordered held in jail until trial on all charges including murder and aggravated arson. He was shackled and wore a green Monmouth County Correctional Institution jumpsuit.
Caneiro only spoke to spell his name for the record to answer yes, no and “I do” when asked by the judge if he understood various aspects of the court proceedings.
Caneiro’s wife and daughter did not appear in court with him.
Prosecutors say before setting fire to his own home, Paul Caneiro killed his brother Keith, sister-in-law Jennifer, and the couple’s two children Jesse and Sophia before setting their house on fire to cover up the crime.
Watch: Monmouth County Prosecutor Speaks After Caneiro Appearance
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said he didn’t have much to add following the court appearance.
“I don’t have any further comment to add at this time as to these two investigations in these cases. You heard the initial appearance and detention review hearing that occurred today, they’re very cursory and administerial. We’ll continue to update the public and the media on any developments in this case. Otherwise, just stay tuned with us,” Gramiccioni said.
Gramiccioni previously called the case the most heinous his team has ever seen.
Watch: Paul Caneiro’s Defense Attorneys Speak Out
“We understand that Mr. Caneiro has been charged with four counts of murder and associated charges of arson and weapons possession,” said Caneiro’s attorney Robert Honecker, Jr. “Mr. Caneiro maintains his innocence of the charges. He has indicated that he would never engage in conduct that would cause harm to his brother or his brother’s family, and he intends to challenge the evidence that has been gathered by the prosecutor’s office in this case. And certainly, in his view, he believes that when the case is finally resolved, that he’ll be vindicated.”
“I’d like to add that Paul Caneiro loved his brother, loved his sister-in-law like a sister, loved those children and would never do anything to harm them,” said Mitchell Ansell, who also represents Caneiro. “There’s no reason on this earth for him to have harmed them.”
Investigators say Caneiro and his brother owned tech and pest control businesses in Asbury Park.
Watch: Monmouth County Prosecutor Announces Charges In Colts Neck Case
“The defendant’s motive was financial in nature, stemming from his and the victim’s joint business ventures that they owned and operated out of Asbury Park. As a result, we have also launched a financial investigation,” Gramiccioni said Thursday.
Caneiro’s attorneys said they’ve seen no evidence of a financial motive.
“We’ve been presented no evidence of that whatsoever. The prosecutor says it’s about money. There’s been no evidence presented to us at this point in time about that,” Ansell said Friday.
Caneiro’s next court date is set for January 30.