Political consultant and accomplice plead guilty in murder-for-hire scheme in Jersey City

Political consultant Sean Caddle of Hamburg pleaded guilty to a murder-for-hire scheme in Jersey City in 2014.

A political consultant and one of his accomplices have pleaded guilty to the grisly 2014 murder-for-hire of an associate from Jersey City, in which two people stabbed the victim to death and set fire to his apartment.

Sean Caddle, a political consultant and Jersey City native, and Bomani Africa of Philadelphia, both pleaded guilty in federal court via video conference, where they were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire in the murder of Jersey City associate Michael Galdieri.

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According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of New Jersey, Caddle had solicited George Bratsenis from Connecticut, who was identified in court, to murder Galdieri in exchange for thousands of dollars, with Bratsenis then recruiting Africa, a longtime accomplice, in the plot.

Africa and Bratsenis then traveled to Galideri’s apartment in Jersey City on May 22, 2014, where they both stabbed him to death and set fire to the apartment. The day after the murder, Caddle met with Bratsenis in the parking lot of a diner in Elizabeth to pay thousands of dollars for the job, which was also shared with Africa.

“This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,” said U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger in the announcement of Caddle’s guilty plea on Tuesday. “There is no more serious crime than the taking of another person’s life.”

Galdieri, 52, was a political operative and the son of former state Sen. James Galdieri. He had been found stabbed to death on the second floor of the Mallory Avenue apartment building that night, with authorities believing at the time at that the fire was meant to cover up the murder.

Before his death, Galdieri had run for the Jersey City Council in 2005. He also worked with Caddle’s political consulting group, per the Hudson Reporter, and worked for elections such as former state Assemblyman Lou Manzo and former state Sen. Ray Lesniak.

On the eve of Election Day in 2005, Galdieri had been arrested and charged with weapon and drug violations. He claimed that he was set up, but agreed to a plea deal to reduce his time in jail to two years.

In recent years, Caddle had run a number of super PACs that donated thousands of dollars to Democrats in local elections in New Jersey but did not disclose their finance reports, according to reports by Politico.

The revelations of the murder sent shockwaves throughout the state’s political landscape. Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea, who was a friend of Galdieri and was familiar with Caddle, told the New York Times that he was “totally shocked” by the revelation. Lesniak also told NJ Advance Media that he was “stunned.” “This is so bizarre. I can’t believe it,” he said.

A motive for the scheme was not disclosed. Caddle is currently out on a $1 million bond in home detention, and is cooperating with . Both he and Africa could face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Bratsenis has not been charged.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mark Koosau can be reached at mkoosau@hudsonreporter.com or his Twitter @snivyTsutarja.