New Jersey man pleads not guilty to murdering brother and his family

COLTS NECK, New Jersey -- A New Jersey businessman accused of killing his brother and his brother's wife and two children pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday morning.

Monmouth County Prosecutors say Paul Caneiro killed his brother Keith, Keith's wife Jennifer, and the couple's two young children because he was about to be cut off from the family business.

Keith was allegedly suspicious about missing money from two companies he and his brother owned at the Jersey shore, so Keith emailed two business associates last fall to say he was going to cut off further payments to Paul.

TIMELINE: Colts Neck family murders

The next day on Nov. 20, Keith and his family were found dead in their burning mansion in New Jersey horse country.

Officers found Keith's body on the lawn. He had been shot once in the lower back and four times in the head.

Inside the mansion were the bodies of Keith's wife, 11-year-old Jesse and 8-year-old Sophia. The children were stabbed multiple times, and Jennifer was shot and stabbed.

Officers searching Paul's house in nearby Ocean Township found a plastic container in the basement containing bloody clothing and a latex glove, according to court documents. The blood was later determined to have come from Sophia, and her DNA was found on a knife recovered at the crime scene, according to law enforcement officers.

Last month, authorities unsealed court documents charging Paul with murdering his brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, detailing evidence recovered tying him to the killings -- including clothing and a knife both smeared with blood.

The indictment charges Paul with murder, felony murder, aggravated arson and a weapons offense. He also faces counts of theft, misapplication of entrusted property and hindering his own apprehension.

Paul's high profile private attorneys were not in attendance. He was instead represented by the public defender who entered not guilty pleas to the 16 charges.

The private attorneys, Robert Honecker Jr. and Mitchell Ansell, have withdrawn from the case due to conflicts of interest. They previously said their client loved his family, had no reason to harm them and had been "wrongly accused."

An affidavit filed by law enforcement officers in support of the criminal charges shows tensions brewing between the two brothers, who jointly owned a pair of businesses in Asbury Park.

The night before he was killed, Keith sent an email "to two business associates indicating that there was money missing from the business and that he, (Keith), would be discontinuing payment" to Paul's wife until the money was found, according to the affidavit. An office manager for the businesses, who was not named in court documents, told investigators that because Paul was disabled from a car accident and his salary was being paid to his wife.

"The office manager reported that in the past year, Keith has told her to stop payment to defendant's wife because of arguments with Paul over money," the affidavit read.

Keith was 90 percent owner of Squareone Inc., a technology firm, with his brother owning the remaining 10 percent. The brothers were equal owners of a second business, EcoStar Pest Management, both of which were operated out of a single office in Asbury Park.

911 call: Man describes chilling scene of Colts Neck family murder
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In this chilling 911 call, a man tells the operator that he found a corpse outside of a burning Colts Neck home.


Keith wanted to sell one of the businesses and "was frustrated with Paul and the amount of money Paul spent from their business accounts," according to the affidavit.

Paul allegedly lit his own house on fire as well and was initially arrested on arson and other charges in connection with that incident.
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