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John Sheridan’s family urges authorities to explore possible link between deaths and murder-for-hire plot

A seven-year-old case that this week led to stunning murder-for-hire charges against a New Jersey political consultant bore striking similarities to the 2014 death of John Sheridan, a major figure in New Jersey state politics. New Jersey, and his wife Joyce, say family members, who are now asking investigators if there might be a connection.

In a letter Friday to the state attorney general, the Somerset County attorney and federal authorities, Sheridan’s son Mark asked that evidence related to one of the figures involved in the murder case for-hire that was revealed on Tuesday to be investigated to determine if there is a connection to the death of his parents.

The request came following revelations that Sean Caddle, a Democratic political consultant, had paid two men to kill a former associate in May 2014.

Michael Galdieri, who had worked for Caddle’s consulting firm, was found stabbed to death in his burning Jersey City second-floor apartment in May 2014. The murder remained unsolved until Caddle told a federal judge that he had hired George Bratsenis, a career criminal with a history of carjackings and bank robberies, and Bomani Africa, described as a “longtime accomplice” from Philadelphia, to kill Galdieri.

Africa pleaded guilty on Wednesday for its role in the scheme. Bratsenis, who was identified in court proceedings, remains in custody and has not yet been formally charged.

The Sheridans were found dead in the master bedroom of their Montgomery Township home four months later, in September 2014. Police say the two were stabbed and the bedroom was badly damaged by fire. Prosecutors initially concluded that John Sheridan killed his wife before committing suicide. The state medical examiner later overturned the ruling that the manner of death could not be determined after the family questioned the finding.

“Given that we now know that such murders and cover-ups do occur and are not merely the fantasy of grieving children, I ask that you grant my family a simple courtesy,” Mark Sheridan wrote in his letter. “On September 29, 2014, the day after my parents died, Connecticut police arrested George Bratsenis, the hitman who participated in the murder of Michael Galdieri. According to news reports, Bratsenis was in possession of a large-handled kitchen knife at the time of his arrest.

He said the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office never found the knife that caused his father’s stabbing and had ‘inquired multiple times’ about a knife that was missing from the block of kitchen knives. The New Jersey medical examiner later concluded in a 2017 review of the case that the weapon that caused Sheridan’s five stab wounds had not been found.

“No weapons were recovered from the scene that could be conclusively associated with the injuries sustained by Mr. Sheridan,” Andrew Falzon, the medical examiner, wrote in the report. “All of this is unfortunately made worse by the massive destruction of the stage by fire.”

Sheridan asked the attorney general and the prosecutor to seek the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut, which is prosecuting Bratsenis, to request photos of the knife recovered at the time of his arrest to determine if it matches the set of knives from his parents’ kitchen. , and request a DNA sample from the knife to see if there’s a DNA match to either parent.

“My aim here is really to highlight the fact that they treated us so badly and made fun of us because we thought it might have been something other than murder-suicide, and they did at one point. where there was another murder and fire that they were investigating,” he said.

The attorney general’s office said it received the letter and would not comment further. The Somerset County prosecutor did not respond to requests for comment.

The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is handling the case against Caddle and Africa, declined to comment.


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Ted Sherman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL