COLTS NECK, NJ - The tragic Colts Neck arson and murder case is deepening as Keith Caneiro's brother is charged with trying to burn his own home down earlier in the day in Ocean Township. The brother, Paul Caneiro, sits in a jail cell. He has now gotten a lawyer. He looked to one who used to work in the very office that just charged him with Aggravated Arson, Robert Honecker.
Bob Honecker is no stranger to crime. In fact, he has managed both sides of it. The longtime attorney worked in the Monmouth County Prosecutors as a former First Assistant Prosecutor and Acting Prosecutor for Monmouth County. He is a Past President of the Monmouth County Bar Association and has served as a Trustee since 1992. He is a Past Vice-President of the National District Attorney’s Association and, according to the firm's website, is an Associate Member of the Monmouth County Chiefs of Police Association.
He is also a well known and well regarded criminal defense attorney. Honecker has had high profile cases. He just landed one of perhaps the highest profile cases of his career. Honecker was hired by Paul Caneiro.
The incarcerated Paul Caneiro is the brother of the murdered Keith Caneiro. The men were business partners in two companies, Square One, a technology consulting firm, and EcoStar Pest Management, a pest control firm, both in the same building on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park.
Keith Caneiro, his wife and two children were murdered and their home was set ablaze by arson. Keith was shot to death. Reports state the others may have been stabbed to death.
Earlier on the same day, Paul Caneiro's home was also set ablaze by arson. Paul's family was in the house. He was arrested for setting his own house on fire and sits in the Monmouth County jail. According to a statement by the Monmouth County Prosecutor, in the Ocean Township blaze, Paul J. Caneiro, 51, is charged with purposefully setting fire to his Tilton Drive home early Tuesday morning while his wife slept in a second floor bedroom.
Ocean Township police and fire responded to 27 Tilton Drive in the Wayside section of Ocean Township on a report of smoke inside the residence around 5:01 a.m. First responders arrived on scene to discover fire to the rear of the residence and second smaller fire on the garage door attached to the home. Caneiro, his wife and two children were all outside their residence when first responders arrived.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office and Ocean Township Police Department determined the fire is of an incendiary nature.
Caneiro is scheduled for an initial appearance and detention hearing on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James J. McGann.
Possible connections to the arson and brutal deaths of his brother and family are being investigated.
During an interview with CNN, Honecker said his infamous client is an innocent man. "My client maintains his innocence on this charge and any other potential charges," Honecker told CNN this week.
"This family was targeted" said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. He confirmed that the family who owned the house at 15 Willow Brook Road in Colts Neck, Keith and Jennifer Caneiro and their two children, were victims of "homicidal violence". Reports indicate gunshots, stabbings and arson.
"This is one of the most heinous cases we've ever seen," Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said during the press conference Wednesday. "All were victims of a homicide."
On Wednesday evening, a candlelight vigil was held at 5PM in Colts Neck to mourn a beautiful family that would not have Thanksgiving together.
During the vigil, however, Colts Neck focused on the family and not the headlines. They talked about a mom and a dad, Keith and Jennifer Caneiro. They talked about their children. A brother and sister, Jesse, 11, and Sophia, 8. These were neighbors and friends and playmates. They were real and part of the community and they were loved.
The vigil showed a loving community coming together in cold weather to express love and support to the family. "We're surrounded not only by a physical darkness, but an emotional darkness," said Pastor Chris Durkin of the Colts Neck Community Church. "We can still be thankful this Thanksgiving because we still have each other."
"I'd be lying if I stood here and told you this was easy," Mayor JP Bartolomeo said after getting up to speak to the crowd. "We lost four really nice people from our community, who I happened to be friends with, who my boys were friends with."
"Thank you for representing that poor family," Bartolomeo told the gathering.
Paul's Caneiro's fire at his own home started at about 5:20AM. That is the fire he was arrested for setting. Honecker disagrees with the charge. "His family fully support his defense of this charge. No evidence has been produced that suggests a reason why he would engage in such conduct. He fully expects to be vindicated when this case finally resolves." said Honecker to CNN.
At about 12:45PM of the same day of the fire Paul Caneiro was charged for setting, a different fire began to roar through 15 Willow Brook Road in Colts Neck. This was the home of Paul's brother Keith, his sister-in-law Jennifer, his 11 year old nephew Jesse and his 8 year old niece, Sophia.
In this instance, sadly, Keith, Jennifer, Jesse and Sophia were killed before the fire even started, according to officials. They never had a chance.
A community at a loss for words, seeking comfort and coming together as a community to support a family well respected and loved.
STAY INFORMED ON FACEBOOK