AP

Political consultant, hit man admit to murder-for-hire

Jan 26, 2022, 4:15 AM | Updated: 4:40 pm

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — In a stunning revelation even for the rough-and-tumble arena of northern New Jersey politics, a longtime political consultant has admitted he engineered the killing of another political operative nearly eight years ago.

Sean Caddle, a political consultant in northern New Jersey, had the son of a former state senator killed by two hired men, who fatally stabbed the victim in 2014 and set fire to his apartment, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Bomani Africa, 61, of Philadelphia, admitted Wednesday in a video conference in Newark federal court that he was one of the men hired by Caddle. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit murder-for-hire. Caddle pleaded guilty to the same charge Tuesday.

Caddle, 44, worked on the 2013 and 2017 campaigns for powerful former Democratic state Sen. Ray Lesniak, of Union County.

“The most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. No … indication whatsoever,” Lesniak said in a phone interview Wednesday. “He led a double life. While he was running campaigns for me — a lot of them very successful — he was arranging a murder.”

The victim, Michael Galdieri, for years had traveled in the same circles as Caddle and even worked with him at times, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Much of their work was done in and around Jersey City, infamous as the focal point for a major corruption sting in 2009 that snagged numerous local politicians in a pay-to-play scam involving a government cooperator posing as a crooked developer.

A motive in the scheme was not immediately clear. An attorney for Caddle didn’t return a message Wednesday, and Africa’s attorney, Bruce Koffsky, declined comment. An automated message on Caddle’s cell phone said he wasn’t accepting calls.

According to authorities, Caddle solicited a Connecticut resident, identified by Africa during his plea hearing as George Bratsenis, in April 2014 to commit the killing in exchange for thousands of dollars. Africa acknowledged that he and Bratsenis went to Galdieri’s apartment in Jersey City the following month and killed him. The duo then set fire to Galdieri’s apartment, according to prosecutors.

Africa acknowledged that after Caddle learned of Galdieri’s death he paid off Bratsenis in the parking lot of a diner in Elizabeth and that Bratsenis paid him a share of the money.

It’s unclear how much they got.

Africa appeared by videoconference Wednesday from a federal detention center in Rhode Island where he’s been held while he awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to an armed bank robbery in Connecticut in 2014, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut. The robbery occurred about four months after Galdieri’s murder. Bratsenis also pleaded guilty in that robbery and is currently awaiting sentencing at a federal detention center in New York, according to court documents.

Africa was sentenced in 1986 to 50 years in prison, with a 25-year period of parole ineligibility, on robbery, assault and drug charges, according to court records in New Jersey.

No charges had been announced against Bratsenis in the murder-for-hire case as of Wednesday afternoon.

“This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,” U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger said in a statement announcing Caddle’s guilty plea.

The judge allowed Caddle to remain free on $1 million unsecured bond, home detention with electronic monitoring and travel restrictions while he faces a sentence of up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Africa’s status was not clear.

According to court documents, Caddle provided information to authorities in late September, about a month before he signed a plea agreement. In court documents, the government said it is seeking a prison sentence of between 12 1/2 and 25 years, according to court documents.

NJ.com said Galdieri had worked on the campaign of former state Assemblyman Lou Manzo and on Bret Schundler’s run for Jersey City mayor in 1993.

___

This story has been corrected to show that the government agreed not to pursue further charges as part of the plea agreement. It did not agree to drop additional charges.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

1 day ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

2 days ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

5 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

7 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

14 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Political consultant, hit man admit to murder-for-hire