Mystery Deepens in NJ Mansion Fire

Lawyer says Paul Caneiro is innocent
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2018 6:39 AM CST
Mystery Deepens in NJ Mansion Fire
This Nov. 21, 2018, booking photo provided by the Ocean Township Police Department shows Paul Caneiro, who was charged Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, with aggravated arson.   (Ocean Township Police Department)

(Newser) – New Jersey man Paul Caneiro didn't try to set his own house on fire with his wife and children inside, his lawyer says—and he is also innocent of "any other charge," which would include the murders of his brother and his family. Lawyer Robert Honecker Jr. says Caneiro was at home when his brother was shot and his Colts Neck mansion was set ablaze, the New York Times reports. "He loved him," Honecker says. "And he would not do his brother any harm." Caneiro, 51, has been charged with aggravated arson in the predawn fire at his own home Tuesday, but has not been charged or named as a suspect in his brother's case. Police say Keith Caneiro, 50, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children were the victims of "homicidal violence."

Paul Caneiro is accused of using gasoline to start fires at his own home, where firefighters put out blazes at the back of the home and on a garage door. A neighbor tells the Asbury Park Press that he last saw Caneiro at noon Tuesday, around 30 minutes before the Colts Neck fire broke out around 10 miles away. The Press estimates that the drive between the two homes would take 20 minutes. "They were great neighbors, very friendly. This is unexpected news," the neighbor says. The brothers managed several businesses together, including the Square One technology firm, reports. (Read more on the case here.)

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