A Democratic political consultant has pleaded guilty to hiring two men to murder a longtime associate.
Sean Caddle, who worked on campaigns in 2013 and 2017 for New Jersey state senator Ray Lesniak (D.), on Tuesday admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit murder. In 2014, the New Jersey native paid out-of-state conspirators thousands of dollars to travel to the Jersey City home of former associate Michael Galdieri, stab Galdieri, and set his apartment on fire. It is unclear what the motive was.
Lesniak said hearing the news of the murder-for-hire scheme was "the most bizarre thing I've ever experienced in my entire life."
"He led a double life," Lesniak told the Associated Press. "While he was running campaigns for me—a lot of them very successful—he was arranging a murder."
Caddle also worked on campaigns for former state assemblyman and failed Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo and successful Jersey City mayoral candidate Bret Schundler.
Manzo was indicted in 2009 as part of a federal corruption probe in New Jersey that led to dozens of arrests of elected officials. The assemblyman accepted $27,500 for his 2009 mayoral campaign in exchange for development approvals after he was elected, according to the FBI.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said Caddle's murder for hire was "a callous and violent crime" and that Caddle was "as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife."
"There is no more serious crime than the taking of another person's life," Sellinger said. "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."
District Judge John Michael Vazquez, who delivered the verdict, is permitting Caddle to remain in home detention on a $1 million unsecured bond with electronic monitoring and travel restrictions.
Caddle faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000, but prosecutors said in court documents that they are seeking a sentence of between 12 1/2 and 25 years. His sentencing is scheduled for June 7.