The attorney for a New Jersey man accused of setting his home on fire claims that his family, who were inside when the fire started but uninjured, are standing behind him.
FOX News reports that 51-year-old Paul Caneiro is accused of setting his Ocean Township home ablaze on Monday with his wife and daughters inside. Firefighters were quickly dispatched and contained the situation before anyone got hurt.
“His family fully supports him. … It is our firm belief that my client will be exonerated when the case is finally resolved,” Caneiro’s lawyer, Robert Honecker, said.
On the same day the suspect’s home caught on fire, his brother’s home, a $1.5 million mansion located around 10 miles away in Colts Neck, also caught on fire. No one who lived at the Colts Neck home survived.
The family, which included 50-year-old software company CEO Keith Caneiro, his wife Jennifer Caneiro, 45, and their children, 11-year-old Jesse and 8-year-old Sophia, died from “homicidal violence,” according to authorities.
Investigators said earlier this week that Keith was found outside on the lawn of the mansion with a gunshot to the back of his head. The rest of family were inside the home, severely burned with multiple stab wounds. Although, authorities haven’t yet revealed the exact causes of death, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni stated that the entire family was likely dead before the fire.
“We believe that this family in some form or fashion was targeted,” Gramiccioni said.
The prosecution plans to argue during an upcoming hearing on Wednesday that the suspect should remain behind bars, as he’s been accused of starting a fire “while his wife and daughters were inside.” Honecker, however, said that there is no evidence that points to Caneiro starting the fire and that the charge against his client doesn’t “make any sense,” according to Asbury Park Press.
“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.”
Honecker also reiterated earlier this week that Caneiro has not been charged with his brother’s death or the deaths of his brother’s family.
“The only charges that are currently pending in the aggravated arson of his own residence. 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.”
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Paul Caneiro (l), Keith Caneiro and family (r)/Police Handout/Facebook]