Lawmakers Call for Return of Death Penalty After New Jersey Family’s Murder

Three lawmakers are calling for the death penalty to be restored in New Jersey after a family of four in the upscale community of Colts Neck was found brutally murdered.

State Assemblyman Harold Wirths said in a statement, according to News12, “We owe it to the loved ones who are grieving this tremendous loss. They deserve the ultimate form of justice.”

Wirths added that victims’ families would see justice served “by reinstating the death penalty.”

Assemblyman Parker Space and Sen. Steve Oroho (R-N.J.) join Wirths in arguing the death penalty should once again be allowed by law.

“The Colts Neck murderer deserves nothing less than the death penalty,” Sen. Oroho said, according to “We can no longer ignore the public calls for action in gruesome cases like these.”

The trio has sponsored such legislation in the past, with no success.

But the horrific Nov. 20 killing of a family of four, including two young children, give new impetus to calls to reinstate capital punishment.

Mansion Inferno

New Jersey tech executive Paul Caneiro has been charged with murder in the deaths of his brother, sister-in-law, and their children, whose bodies were found on Nov. 20 at their burning Monmouth County mansion.

Caneiro faces four counts of murder in the slayings of Keith Caneiro, 50, Jennifer Caneiro, 45, and the pair’s children, reported, citing court documents. He has also been charged with possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, as well as arson.

A disturbing 911 call has been released of the morning the family was found murdered and their home left ablaze.

“I opened the door…and there’s smoke coming out and there is a person laying down,” the caller said, according to News12.

“Oh my God. There is blood here. It’s a corpse,” the caller can be heard saying. “Somebody is dead here.”

Keith Caneiro, CEO of Ashbury Park-based tech company Square One, suffered a fatal gunshot wound and his body was found outside his home, according to sources cited by and the Ashbury Park Press.

Police discovered the bodies of Caneiro’s wife and two children inside the burning mansion.

“One body, a man, was found outside the home, and the other three were recovered inside the home,” Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni told “Unfortunately, they were burned severely as a result of the fire.”

At least one of the children’s bodies was found to have stab wounds, a law enforcement source told

The Fires

In a bizarre sequence of events, Paul Caneiro had earlier been accused of setting his own house on fire while his family was inside.

Hours before the killings, a fire was reported at Paul Caneiro’s Ocean Township home, located about 10 miles away from Colts Neck. Caneiro allegedly used gasoline to set his home ablaze at around 5 a.m. on Nov. 20.

The suspect’s family was able to escape the fire without injuries.

‘Most Brutal’ Crime

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni described the murders as the “most brutal” crime he had experienced since he became the county prosecutor, according to

Gramiccioni also said that if the law allowed for it, “he would seek the death penalty.”

New Jersey became the first U.S. state in 42 years to abolish capital punishment when in December 2007 then-Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat, signed legislation banning the death penalty.

“We should listen to officials like Prosecutor Gramiccioni, who have plainly said that this is a punishment we should be able to hand down in extreme cases of violence,” Wirths wrote. “The gruesome murder of the Caneiro family is proof that we must reinstate the death penalty.”

Space said, “Monsters, including Paul Caneiro if convicted, need to know that the punishment for committing such a malicious, immoral act will be that they will meet the same fate as the one they forced on their innocent victims. The death penalty is the most effective deterrent out there. We must reinstate it immediately.”

Lawmakers Call for Return of Death Penalty After New Jersey Family’s Murder