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Family ‘fully supports’ accused arsonist, link to mansion deaths ‘pure speculation,’ lawyer says


The lawyer for a New Jersey man whose brother and family were found slain earlier this week after their mansion was suspiciously set ablaze, and just hours after he allegedly set his own home on fire, expects his client to be exonerated.

Paul Caneiro, 51, is charged with burning his Ocean Township home with his wife and two daughters inside. They were found unharmed.

Caneiro’s attorney, Robert Honecker, said his client’s family may testify on his behalf, the Asbury Park Press reported.

“His family fully supports him. … It is our firm belief that my client will be exonerated when the case is finally resolved,” said Honecker, a former top prosecutor in the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

However, investigators are also looking into the deaths Caneiro’s brother Keith, 50, his wife Jennifer, 45, and their children Jesse, 11, and 8-year-old Sophia. Keith Caneiro was found dead from gunshot wounds Tuesday on the front yard of his home in the town of Colts Neck. His wife and children were found dead inside the $1.5 million home.

Authorities said all four were killed before the fire was set.

“We believe that this family in some form or fashion was targeted,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said earlier this week, adding that he could neither confirm nor deny that Paul Caniero was a suspect in the slayings.

Paul Caneiro has not been charged in the homicides but remained in Monmouth County jail, NJ.com reported.

“The charge appears not to make any sense in that there seems to be very little evidence of a reason to do it,” Honecker said. “The evidence that I’ve seen does not suggest any reason to do the arson of his house.”

“The charge appears not to make any sense in that there seems to be very little evidence of a reason to do it. The evidence that I’ve seen does not suggest any reason to do the arson of his house.”

— Robert Honecker, attorney for Paul Caneiro

A GoFundMe page has been created by a friend of one of Paul Caneiro’s daughters to help raise money for the family following the blaze at their home and the murders of their relatives.

Paul Caneiro faces up to 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday where Honecker is expected to ask for his client’s release.

“The only charges that are currently pending in the aggravated arson of his own residence,” Honecker said. “There are no charges that are filed against him in any other matter, and any connection to what happened in Colts Neck is pure speculation.”

He said the elder Caneiro loved his younger brother and would never have harmed him.

“They were best friends … his brother was his best man at his wedding, and they talked to each other every day,” he added.



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