Hit man hired by N.J. political consultant sentenced to 20 years in prison

62-year-old admitted his role in a 2014 murder

By: - February 23, 2023 4:46 pm

Political operative Sean Caddle has admitted to hiring two men to kill an associate of his in 2014.

The admitted hit man who killed a New Jersey political consultant in 2014 was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday, marking the first person sentenced in a murder-for-hire plot that has transfixed the state’s political world.

During the hour-long sentencing hearing in federal court in Newark, Bomani Africa, 62, apologized for the murder of Michael Galdieri, who was found dead in his Jersey City home with multiple stab wounds to his neck, head, and upper torso in May 2014.

Africa, shackled and wearing a yellow jumpsuit with a long-sleeved white shirt underneath, said he is “truly remorseful.”

“Every day I sit and I replay back that incident. It’s the only way it played out. Would I have made different choices? Yes, now I did see that,” he said. “Again, I can never justify those actions. I’m taking full responsibility and acknowledge what I’ve done.”

Africa is one of two men who pleaded guilty to killing Galdieri. The other, Michael Bratsenis, is scheduled to be sentenced March 23.

Both men say they were hired by Sean Caddle, Galdieri’s business associate, to carry out the murder in exchange for $15,000. Caddle, a political consultant who played a major role in the campaigns of former state Sen. Ray Lesniak, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in January 2022 and awaits sentencing.

Judge John Michael Vazquez said he had expected to sentence Africa to up to 26 years in prison but decided on 20 years because Africa admitted his guilt and has been cooperating with prosecutors.

Vazquez called himself skeptical that Africa is truly remorseful. He noted Africa did not confess to the murder until after federal officials confronted him with evidence of his guilt. The judge repeatedly called the murder plot a “difficult case” and described the crime as “depraved, debased, vile” and “heinous.”

Vazquez also noted Africa’s extensive criminal history that began when he was young and referenced a string of armed robberies Africa committed after murdering Galdieri.

“I don’t know how to put it into words — to get away with murder and then decide, let’s do some armed bank robberies. That shows a total lack of consciousness, empathy, or any type of normal human emotion,” Vazquez said.

The 2014 murder

Africa’s sentencing has revealed some details about the murder-for-hire plot that federal prosecutors have until now kept under wraps.

In 2014, Caddle met with Bratsenis — the two met working on a state Senate campaign together — and said he was aware of Bratsenis’ extensive criminal history. Apparently angry after believing Galdieri had been stealing money from him, Caddle hired Bratsenis to kill Galdieri.

Caddle paid Bratsenis between $2,000 and $4,000 upfront, and Bratsenis found a co-conspirator in Africa (the two had previously served together in prison).

On May 22, 2014, Galdieri opened the door to his Jersey City apartment to let the two men in. They stabbed him to death and then used gasoline to set the apartment ablaze.

The following day, Caddle met Bratsenis in the parking lot of an unnamed Elizabeth diner to pay him the remaining thousands for the job. Bratsenis and Africa split the $15,000.

Shortly after, the pair committed the bank robberies in Connecticut. Africa was arrested in 2015, and eventually both men confessed to Galdieri’s then-unsolved murder.

Africa faced a life sentence for his role. Prosecutors had called for a 15- to 18-year sentence, citing his cooperation with the government, according to sentencing materials unsealed by the court.

“Without Africa’s substantial assistance, I don’t think we’d be standing here,” said Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Cortes Jr.

Africa, a Paterson native, will be 82 when released and faces five years of additional supervision. He does not have to pay a fine or any restitution for the murder. He requested to be placed in a facility in North Carolina, where his family and son live.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for NJ.com, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.