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Mansion fire update: Man accused of killing brother & family took documents from crime scene before setting house on fire [Prosecutors]

A New Jersey man accused of killing his brother and brother’s family may have had a motive “financial in nature,” according to the case prosecutor, while the suspect’s defense lawyer claims his client has been wrongfully accused.

NJ.com reports 51-year-old Paul Caneiro stands accused of killing his brother, 50-year-old Keith Caneiro, his brother’s wife, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, and the their two children. He’s also been charged with possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and possession of a firearm.

The victims were found deceased at their residence in Colts Neck, a $1.5 million mansion that had been set on fire. While Keith was found on the lawn with a gunshot wound to his head, his wife and children were found inside the mansion, badly burned and with numerous stab wounds on their body.

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During a Thursday press conference, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said the suspect had financial motive for allegedly killing the victims. The brothers were business partners and owned two companies together, including pest control firm, EcoStar Pest Management and technology consulting firm, Square One.

Gramiccioni didn’t expand on what the financial motive was in the killings, but according to CNN, the suspect took documents from his brother’s home, brought the documents his own home in Ocean Township, then set his residence ablaze. The suspect’s wife and daughters were inside the suspect’s residence when he allegedly set it on fire, but firefighters arrived within minutes after someone reported smoke coming from the area. No one was injured.

According to an unnamed source who spoke with NJ.com, Keith had plans to leave Square One, as the business was reportedly struggling to stay financially afloat. The source, who said they had known Keith since high school, indicated Keith had recently sent out a resume to a company in California and was considering relocation for a new opportunity.

Caneiro appeared in court on Friday morning and pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer, Mitchell Ansell, stated Caneiro loved his brother and his brother’s family and had no motive or reason to kill them.

“Paul Caneiro loved his brother, loved his sister-in-law like a sister, loved those children and would never do anything to harm them. There’s no reason on Earth for him to have harmed them.”

Caneiro limped into court on Friday with a flurry of reporters awaiting. Caneiro’s other attorney, Robert A. Honecker Jr., entered the not guilty plea on Caneiro’s behalf, who sat emotionless while shackled and dressed in a green jail jumpsuit.

Caneiro remains behind bars. His next hearing is scheduled for January 30.

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[Feature Photo: Keith Caneiro and family/Facebook]