A New Jersey Democratic political operative has pled guilty in a murder-for-hire scheme which claimed the life of an associate in a case which baffled police for years, according to NJ.com.
Sean Caddle, 44, pled guilty on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire in the 2014 death of Michael Galdieri.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office didn’t name Galdieri, who was the 52-year-old son of a former state senator, as the victim during Caddle’s guilty plea before a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey via videoconference.
However, those familiar with the case confirmed Caddle was pleading guilty to placing a hit on Galdieri, who was found stabbed to death after firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire at his apartment in 2014.
Court filings indicated Caddle had agreed to the guilty plea in October but that it was kept under wraps until this week.
Caddle is said to be working with authorities on what NJ.com termed “other, unspecified crimes,” according to the plea agreement.
The 44-year-old Democrat had worked as a consultant for former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a long-time power-broker in New Jersey politics. Lesniak described Caddle as “an all-star in terms of being a political operative.”
In addition to working for Lesniak during his last re-election campaign in 2013, he had worked for other candidates and formed a super PAC with ties to the state’s Democrats months before Galdieri was murdered.
Lesniak told reporters he’d talked to Caddle earlier on Tuesday, before his plea.
“He didn’t say anything,” Lesniak said. “I am stunned. This is so bizarre. I can’t believe it.”
This isn’t the only bizarre thing about Caddle’s case, not the least of which is the fact he’s remained free since he agreed to the plea agreement in October.
The plot to kill Galdieri began in April of 2014, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. Caddle solicited an unidentified Connecticut resident in connection with the murder plan, who recruited an associate from Philadelphia.
The two killed Galdieri on May 22, 2014. Caddle met the man from Connecticut in the parking lot of a diner in nearby Elizabeth, New Jersey the next day to pay him off.
“This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,” Sellinger said via a statement.
“There is no more serious crime than the taking of another person’s life. The defendant has admitted arranging and paying for a murder by two other people. His admission of guilt means he will now pay for his crime.”
But not with a prison sentence, at least not yet.
Despite the fact this could land the 44-year-old behind bars for the rest of his life, he was freed on $1 million unsecured bond. The former Democratic operative is confined to his home via electronic monitoring.
Politics can make strange bedfellows and elections can have strange outcomes. In this case, it’s resulted in one of the strangest murder-for-hire convictions anyone has seen in a long while.