News

Lawmakers call for reinstatement of death penalty in NJ after family murdered

Posted: Updated:
COLTS NECK -

Several state politicians are calling for New Jersey to reinstate the death penalty in the wake of the murder of an entire family in Colts Neck last month.

Monmouth County prosecutors say that Keith and Jennifer Caneiro and their two young children were killed by Keith’s brother, Paul Caneiro, who also allegedly set their home on fire. Keith Caneiro was shut multiple times and the rest of the family was stabbed, according to the medical examiner.

Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said that it was one of the most brutal crimes he had since during his time as a prosecutor.

RELATED: ‘Somebody is dead here.’ – 911 calls from Colts Neck murder released
RELATED: Brother charged in Colts Neck murders won't go to trial until 2020

New Jersey banned capital punishment in 2007, but the state had not executed an inmate since 1963. State Sen. Dick Codey was acting governor when the death penalty was abolished.

"When we had it, it was never utilized. Appeals went on forever and they (death row inmates) were in a nursing home or on a ventilator,” Codey said.

VIDEO: Chopper 12 footage above Colts Neck mansion fire
VIDEO: Extended footage of press conference on Colts Neck mansion fire

But now lawmakers are looking into the possibility of reinstating the punishment. Republican State Assemblyman Harold Wirths had already co-sponsored a bill, prior to the deaths of the Caneiro family. Wirths said that their deaths are a prime example of why the punishment is needed.

“I'd love to have that debate with anybody who doesn't think whoever committed this crime should be executed and what possible value they have remaining on this earth once they're convicted and go through the judicial process,” Wirths said.

Wirths says that he does acknowledge that the death penalty faces tremendous opposition in Trenton.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Aftermath of shooting that left 4 dead in Brooklyn

    Aftermath of shooting that left 4 dead in Brooklyn

    Gunfire broke out inside an illegal gambling club in Brooklyn early Saturday, police said, leaving four people dead, three wounded, and investigators trying to piece together what prompted the bloodshed.
    Gunfire broke out inside an illegal gambling club in Brooklyn early Saturday, police said, leaving four people dead, three wounded, and investigators trying to piece together what prompted the bloodshed.
  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Just Married in New Jersey

    Just Married in New Jersey

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding.

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

    News 12 New Jersey wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedNJ.  

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."