Hit Man in Political NJ Murder-for-hire Plot Sentenced to 20 Years
JERSEY CITY — One of the hitmen who killed a Jersey City man in a 2014 murder-for-hire scheme has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Bomani Africa, 62, appeared before Judge John Michael Vazquez in U.S. District Court in Newark on Thursday. He pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to commit murder-for-hire.
Africa and George Bratsenis, 74, carried out the killing of Michael Galdieri at his Jersey City apartment. They stabbed Galdieri to death and then set fire to the residence.
According to federal prosecutors, the murder was done at the request of Democratic political consultant Sean Caddle in exchange for thousands of dollars. Caddle pleaded guilty to the same charge as Africa and will be sentenced next month. Bratsenis will be sentenced next month as well.
Nearly a decade later, the motive for the killing remains unknown to the public.
It's not clear why Caddle wanted Galdieri dead; the two men were once friends. Caddle was a well-known North Jersey political consultant while Galdieri was the son of a former state senator. They traveled in the same circles and worked together at times, according to federal prosecutors.
Caddle worked on campaigns for former Union County state Sen. Ray Lesniak in 2013 and 2017. Lesniak told the Associated Press last year that he was blindsided by the killing.
“The most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. No... indication whatsoever,” Lesniak said. “He led a double life. While he was running campaigns for me — a lot of them very successful — he was arranging a murder.”
NJ hitmen have stunning pasts
Along with his sentence for the Jersey City slaying, Africa received a 96-month prison sentence in Connecticut last week for a string of armed robberies in 2014.
In court, defense attorney Bruce Koffsky said that his client grew up in an abusive household in Paterson. Africa became involved in crime and began using heroin at an early age. A litany of robbery, assault, and drug crimes led to a 50-year prison sentence in 1986.
While incarcerated at Northern State Prison in Newark, he met Bratsenis and the pair began plotting to rob banks while paroled. Together, they stole nearly $30,000 from a bank in Connecticut and escaped using a stolen vehicle in 2014.
Africa told a Connecticut judge during his sentencing last week that he has lived his life with an attitude that he doesn't care.
“But I do care,” said Africa. “I’m much older. No way I’m going into a bank” again, he added.
An unconvinced U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer in New Haven retorted that Africa's behavior didn't change much after his first lengthy stint in prison.
“Ultimately you gave in... to just going back to the way things had been before... and the way things were were pretty dangerous," Meyer said.
As for Bratsenis, his life of crime began in 1974 after serving as a Marine for six years.
READ MORE: Suspect in NJ political murder-for-hire plot has stunning rap sheet
Before the Jersey City murder plot and Connecticut bank robbery, both in 2014, Bratsenis racked up his share of drug, robbery, and weapons offenses.
In 1980, he conspired with a Connecticut police chief to murder a known drug courier, according to local authorities. David Avnayim's body was found in the trunk of a car. Then in 1983, he robbed a jewelry store in Little Falls.
The resulting convictions put him behind bars in Newark for over two decades.
The Associated Press contributed to this report