Sean Caddle, a former Democratic campaign consultant from New Jersey, has been sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for orchestrating the murder of his colleague, Michael Galdieri.

Political consultant gets 24 years for paying hitmen to kill a colleague - Bowen Island Undercurrent
Photo from Bowen Island Undercurrent

Murder for Hire

The chilling murder-for-hire plot involved the fatal stabbing of Galdieri in 2014, followed by setting his apartment on fire. Caddle, aged 45, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit murder-for-hire. During the sentencing, U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez expressed skepticism about Caddle’s acceptance of responsibility, suggesting that his cooperation with prosecutors in a separate tax and wire fraud case seemed motivated by self-preservation. The judge described the crime as “unusual” and “heinous.”

According to CBS News, Caddle, who had been under house arrest, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals following the hearing. In court, he appeared sad, dressed in an untucked button-down shirt and khakis, refraining from making any comments as advised by his lawyer. Prosecutors finally revealed the motive behind Galdieri’s murder. Caddle disclosed that he wanted Galdieri dead because Galdieri was threatening to extort money from him, claiming that Caddle had engaged in wrongdoing through his political consulting business. However, the details of the alleged misconduct and the amount sought were not made public.

The case gained significant attention when Caddle’s guilty plea was announced in early 2022, bringing closure to the mysterious death of Galdieri eight years earlier. The prosecution received crucial assistance from two ex-convicts who had pleaded guilty to helping Caddle with the murder. One of them, George Bratsenis, informed authorities about Caddle’s involvement, detailing how he had paid $15,000 to find someone willing to commit the murder.

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Bratsenis and another accomplice, Bomani Africa, carried out the murder by stabbing Galdieri and setting his apartment on fire. The day after the crime, Caddle met Bratsenis to pay him the remaining amount, using funds withdrawn from his political consulting business account. While recognizing Caddle’s cooperation in the investigation, Prosecutor Lee Cortes emphasized the seriousness of the crime, stating that the murder of a lifelong friend was one of the most severe offenses. The sentencing of 24 years reflects the gravity of Caddle’s actions and aims to provide some measure of justice for the victim and his family.

The family of Michael Galdieri, including his father, a former state senator, stood united in court during the sentencing. They expressed relief at the sentence, signaling their approval. Caddle, who had a significant presence in northern New Jersey politics and had worked with prominent figures such as Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and former Democratic state Senator Raymond Lesniak, stunned many with his guilty plea.

The case serves as a grim reminder of the depths to which personal motives can lead, even within the political landscape.

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