Connecticut resident George Bratsenis pleaded guilty to his role in killing Jersey City politico Michael Galdieri in a murder-for-hire scheme in 2014 in U.S. District Court earlier today.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Bratsenis, 73, of Monroe, Connecticut, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire.
Bratsenis’ conspirators, Sean Caddle and Bomani Africa, previously pleaded guilty before Vazquez to their roles in the murder scheme.
Caddle, who was running a super PAC with ties to Hudson County during the same year the murder occurred, was also recently connected to a defunct PAC founded by state Senator Ray Lesniak to aid Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis’ re-election campaign.
Counsel for Caddle has said that he is cooperating with an unrelated investigation.
“Eight years ago, these three individuals – Caddle, Bratsenis, and Africa – conspired to brutally murder the victim. At Caddle’s direction, Bratsenis and Africa stabbed the victim to death in the victim’s apartment, and then set it ablaze,” U.S. Attorney Phil Sellinger said in a statement.
“These guilty pleas bring a measure of justice to the victim’s memory and for his family. I commend the efforts of the FBI, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and my office for their determination over many years to bring this matter to resolution.”
Aside from the guilty plea, essentially no new information about the case was revealed. Bratsenis said he has not been treated for mental illness before pleading guilty and concluded with “You all have a nice day. Take it easy.”
“This defendant conspired in the ultimate crime – murder for money,” added FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch, Jr.
“Those who devalue life – whether out of greed or animus – need to know that the FBI is dedicated to keeping our citizens safe, and nothing will stop us from accomplishing that mission. When you break the law, you will be brought to justice no matter how long it takes.”
In April of 2014, Caddle solicited Bratsenis to commit a murder on Caddle’s behalf in exchange for thousands of dollars. Bratsenis recruited Africa, a longtime accomplice from Philadelphia, to join the plot.
After Bratsenis confirmed his and Africa’s interest in the job, Caddle told Bratsenis that the target was a longtime associate who had worked for Caddle on various political campaigns.
On May 22nd, 2014, Bratsenis and Africa traveled from out of state to the victim’s apartment in Jersey City. After entering the apartment, Bratsenis and Africa stabbed the victim to death and then set fire to the victim’s apartment.
After Caddle learned that the victim had been murdered, the following day, he met Bratsenis in the parking lot of a diner in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Caddle paid Bratsenis thousands of dollars in exchange for the murder, and Bratsenis shared a portion of those proceeds with Africa.
Bratsenis faces a maximum potential penalty of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing has been scheduled for August 2nd.