A Philadelphia resident admitted Wednesday that he was one of the two hit men paid by a onetime New Jersey political operative to kill a former associate.
Bomani Africa, 61, who has a criminal history that includes convictions for robbery and drug-related crime, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for hire via videoconference with a federal judge in Newark, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Philip R. Sellinger announced.
People immediately began wondering who the hired killers were after Sean Caddle, 44, admitted on Tuesday that he paid them to whack Michael Galdieri, the son of former State Sen. James Galdieri (D-Jersey City) and a prominent figure in local Hudson County politics.
Galdieri, 52, was stabbed to death and his Jersey City apartment was set on fire in May 2014. The killing had publicly remained a cold case until Caddle pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark on Tuesday to setting it up.
Then came Africa’s plea on Wednesday, after which speculation on the second killer’s identity continued.
It centered Wednesday on a Bridgeport, CT man who’d been a co-defendant with Africa in a bank robbery and vehicle arson in 2014 – the same year that Galdieri was killed.
Matt Friedman of Politco NJ identified him as George Bratsenis.
The victim, Galdieri, had been a longtime associate of Caddle, who was a former aide to former State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth).
According to Sellinger, Caddle solicited the Connecticut killer to rub out Galdieri in exchange for thousands of dollars. That man then recruited Africa, whom the U.S. attorney described as “a longtime accomplice from Philadelphia,” to join the plot.
Once they'd expressed interest in the job, Caddle described the target as “a longtime associate who had worked for Caddle on various political campaigns,” Sellinger said.
The following month, the men stabbed him to death and torched his Jersey City apartment, Sellinger said.
Firefighters found Galdieri's body after dousing the flames at 158 Mallory St. on May 22. His cold-case killing had remained a mystery since then.
Once the deed was done, Caddle admitted, he met the Connecticut hit man in the parking lot of an Elizabeth diner. Caddle said he paid that man thousands of dollars, which Sellinger said he then shared with Africa.
U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez scheduled Africa’s sentencing for June 7.
Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI Newark Field Office with the investigation leading to the pleas, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr., chief of his Health Care Fraud Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell, chief of his Cybercrime Unit.
He also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for its assistance.
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