A hit man’s last job? Killer tells judge he’s a changed man

Apr 5, 2022, 10:47 AM | Updated: 12:18 pm
FILE - This 2014 photo provided by the Connecticut Department of Correction, shows George Bratsenis...

FILE - This 2014 photo provided by the Connecticut Department of Correction, shows George Bratsenis. The 73-year-old hit man who recently pleaded guilty to the contract killing of a political consultant in New Jersey says he's finally through living a life of crime. Bratsenis was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday for a Connecticut bank robbery. (Connecticut Department of Correction via AP, File)

(Connecticut Department of Correction via AP, File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — An aging hit man who recently pleaded guilty to the contract killing of a political consultant in New Jersey says he’s finally through living a life of crime.

George Bratsenis, 73, was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday for a Connecticut bank robbery. He told the judge a recent cancer diagnosis changed his outlook on life.

“I’m not the same man I was 91 months ago,” Bratsenis said, referring to his last, violent year out of prison, eight years ago. “I turned my life around because I had a rude awakening with this cancer and the fact that I’m getting older and my body is deteriorating in a couple different ways.”

“I had to, like, put my life on the firing line, indirectly, with the things that I have done,” he added.

The sentencing in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, came less than two weeks after Bratsenis pleaded guilty to accepting thousands of dollars to kill New Jersey political consultant Michael Galdieri, who was stabbed to death in his Jersey City apartment in 2014.

The killing was arranged and paid for by another political consultant, Sean Caddle, who has also pleaded guilty. Bratsenis’ partner in the bank robbery, Bomani Africa, has also pleaded guilty in Galdieri’s death.

Even with the guilty pleas, the slaying remains cloaked in mystery. Federal prosecutors in New Jersey have barely said anything publicly about the case, or explained why Caddle wanted Galdieri — once a close friend — dead.

Lawyers for Bratsenis and Africa aren’t talking, either.

Most puzzling of all, Caddle — the supposed mastermind of the plot — was released to house arrest after his guilty plea, something highly unusual in a murder conspiracy case.

Bratsenis, however, remains behind bars. He already has been detained for nearly eight years on the robbery charges, so the sentence essentially amounted to time served. He now heads back to detention to await sentencing in the New Jersey case.

The Stamford, Connecticut, native wore a tan prison uniform with a white, long-sleeve undershirt, black sneakers and thick glasses as he told U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer that he was a different person than he was at the time of the robbery because of his illness.

The type of cancer he has was not disclosed. He was diagnosed with it in 2016.

He ended his short speech by thanking everyone who helped with his case and added “Have a nice day,” similar to what he said when he pleaded guilty in New Jersey on March 24.

Meyer responded by saying he wished Bratsenis had decided years earlier to turn his life around.

“You’ve had a life that’s been marred by many criminal convictions,” the judge said.

Both Meyer and prosecutor Rahul Kale called the robberies very serious crimes that terrorized the victims.

Bratsenis and Africa robbed nearly $30,000 from a bank in Trumbull in September 2014, using a getaway car that they carjacked from a woman the day before, prosecutors said. They later burned the vehicle. Africa also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

The robbery was just Bratsenis’ last job in a long career of crime.

In the summer of 1980, according to Connecticut authorities, Bratsenis conspired with a former Stamford police lieutenant and two other men to murder a reputed drug courier, David Avnayim, whose body was found in the trunk of a car.

Bratsenis eventually pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy.

By the time he was charged with that murder, Bratsenis was already behind bars, the result of a conviction for robbing a jewelry store in Little Falls, New Jersey, in 1983. While jailed in New Jersey, Bratsenis hatched an escape plan, but it was foiled.

Prosecutors say Bratsenis befriended Africa, a Philadelphian, while the two were in prison together and the two began planning to rob banks when they were paroled.

Bratsenis is being held at a federal detention center in New York City. He declined to comment Tuesday while leaving the New Haven courtroom.

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


Associated Press

Dutch farmers block entrances to supermarket warehouses

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch farmers angry at government plans to slash emissions used tractors and trucks Monday to blockade supermarket distribution centers, the latest actions in a summer of discontent in the country’s lucrative agricultural sector. The Netherlands’ busiest aviation hub, Schiphol Airport, urged travelers to use public transport to get to its […]
3 hours ago
Associated Press

Iran TV: Sandstorm shuts offices, schools in Tehran, region

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Schools and government offices closed in Iran’s capital and several other cities in the country on Monday, after yet another sandstorm blanketed Tehran and the surrounding region. State-run TV warned of poor air quality and advised the elderly, those sick and children to take precautions. Banks and the Tehran Stock Exchange […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Xiao Jianhua, a Chinese-born Canadian billionaire talks to reporters outside the Internation...
Associated Press

Canadian government: Tycoon in China due to stand trial

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese-born Canadian tycoon is being put on trial in China, Canada’s government said Monday, five years after he vanished from Hong Kong during an anti-corruption crackdown. Xiao Jianhua was due to stand trial Monday, a government statement said. It said Canadian diplomats were “monitoring this case closely” and provided unspecified services […]
3 hours ago
Associated Press

Data puts Turkey’s annual inflation at 78.6%, a 24-year high

ISTANBUL (AP) — Annual inflation in Turkey hit 78.62% in June, the highest rate since 1998, according to official data released Monday. The Turkish Statistical Institute, or TurkStat, released the monthly figures as Turkey is experiencing a deepening cost-of-living crisis. Consumer prices rose by 4.95% on a monthly basis, the institute reported. While many countries […]
3 hours ago
A person walks past a notice for customers posted on the entrance of an "au" mobile brand operator ...
Associated Press

Outages disrupt services at Japan’s No. 2 telecoms carrier

TOKYO (AP) — Many users of Japan’s No. 2 mobile carrier KDDI Corp. were still having trouble making calls Monday after a massive outage throughout the weekend that affected nearly 40 million people, disrupting deliveries, weather reports and other services across the country. The company said data transmission had largely been restored by Monday morning, […]
3 hours ago
Residential properties and roads are submerged under floodwater from the swollen Hawkesbury River i...
Associated Press

3 feet of rain sets up 4th round of flood misery for Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — More than 30,000 residents of Sydney and its surrounds were told to evacuate or prepare to abandon their homes Monday as Australia’s largest city faces its fourth, and possibly worst, round of flooding in less than a year and a half. Days of torrential rain caused dams to overflow and waterways to […]
3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
A hit man’s last job? Killer tells judge he’s a changed man