A political consultant in New Jersey pleaded guilty in a murder-for-hire plot in the 2014 slaying of a longtime associate who was found fatally stabbed in a Jersey City apartment that was set on fire, federal prosecutors said.
The man, Sean Caddle, 44, of Hamburg, appeared over video teleconference Tuesday and entered the guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, said Philip R. Sellinger, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey.
Caddle was freed on $1 million unsecured bond, which included court-imposed restrictions of home detention with electronic monitoring and travel restrictions, officials said.
“This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,” Sellinger said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Caddle faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, officials said.
Caddle’s lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Court documents in Caddle’s case, which were viewed by NBC News, did not identity the victim. Caddle’s alleged co-conspirators were identified only as “CC-1” and “CC-2.”
Caddle solicited a Connecticut resident in April 2014 to commit the killing for thousands of dollars, the federal documents show. The Connecticut resident recruited an accomplice from Philadelphia, and they fatally stabbed the victim and set fire to the victim’s apartment on May 22, 2014, according to the court records.
An explicit motive for Caddle's role in the slaying was not specified in the court documents.
The day after the slaying, Caddle met with the first co-conspirator in a parking lot in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he paid thousands of dollars for the slaying. The first co-conspirator shared the proceeds with the second, federal prosecutors said.
NJ.com reported that the circumstances of the case matched those of the death of Michael Galdieri, 52, who was the son of the late state Sen. James Galdieri.
Galdieri lived alone in the second-floor apartment. Authorities disclosed at the time that his body had multiple stab wounds and said they believed the fire was set to cover up the murder, NJ.com reported.
Caddle had worked as a consultant to former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak. He also worked on a former state assemblyman’s campaign, as well as a 1993 campaign in the race for mayor in Jersey City, the news outlet reported.
Lesniak said Wednesday that Caddle was the last person he would suspect of being involved in a murder conspiracy.
"Only in New Jersey," Lesniak said. "He was polite. I would refer to him as a gentle giant. He spoke about mundane things. ... He was doing this while helping me win elections."
Federal records show Caddle’s sentencing is scheduled for June 7.