Dr. James Kauffman, the endocrinologist husband of slain Philadelphia radio host April Kauffman, now stands accused of her murder, which authorities allege he arranged with help of Pagan motorcycle gang members with whom he was selling illegal narcotics.
Kauffman committed suicide in his jail cell by hanging himself with a bed sheet, according to CBS.
That news in the high-profile case came the county prosecutor’s office, which announced charges against eight people in connection with the alleged drug ring, although only Kauffman and another man face murder accusations.
“The husband of New Jersey radio host April Kauffman, who was found dead in her Linwood, Atlantic County home back in 2012, has been charged with her murder,” reported ABC6.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. April Kauffman was Found Shot to Death in the Couple’s Bedroom
On Thursday, May 10, 2012, at approximately 11:29 a.m., “officers from Linwood Police Department responded to a 911call at a private residence located at 2 Woodstock Drive, Linwood. There was a report of an unconscious, non-responsive female at this location,” reports the Atlantic County prosecutor’s office.
The body was that of April Kauffman. “Upon arrival, responding police and emergency medical services personnel were met by the resident of the home, James M. Kauffman, who reported finding his wife, April Kauffman, 47, deceased inside the second floor bedroom of their residence,” the statement reads.
“Inside the second floor master bedroom of the residence, police and emergency medical service personnel discovered April Kaufman unconscious and lying face down on the floor. At 11:45 a.m., April Kauffman was pronounced dead. Atlantic County Medical Examiner Dr. Hydow Park, was notified and responded to the scene, at which time it was ascertained April Kauffman had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.”
2. Prosecutors Now Allege That Dr. Kauffman Hired a Motorcycle Gang Member’s Relative to Kill His Wife After She Threatened Divorce
In a statement placed online, the Atlantic County prosecutor, Damon G. Tyner, announced: “After a cooperative investigation between the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and multiple law enforcement agencies, eight individuals have been charged in connection to the murder of April Kauffman, as well as, conspiracy and racketeering.” The prosecution alleges that Kauffmann was already involved with a motorcycle gang to traffic drugs and then used contacts in the gang to allegedly murder his wife.
James Kauffman was charged with 1st degree Racketeering, 1st degree Leader, and Murder. Ferdinand Augello, 61, Petersburg, NJ, was charged with 1st degree Leader Charge, 1st degree Murder (April Kauffman), Conspiracy to Commit Murder James Kauffman, and 1st degree Racketeering; Joseph Mulholland, 52, Villas, was charged with 1st degree Racketeering; Beverly Augello, 47, Summerland Keys, FL, was charged with 1st degree Racketeering; Glenn Seeler, 37, Sanford, NC, was charged with 1st degree Racketeering; Paul Pagano, 61, Egg Harbor Township, was charged with 2nd degree Racketeering; Tabitha Chapman, 35, Absecon, 2nd degree Racketeering; and Cheryl Pizza, 36, Murrells Inlet, SC was charged with 2nd degree Racketeering. The alleged triggerman, Francis Mulholland, is described in the prosecutors’ statement but not listed among those charged.
“…it was determined that a long term alliance between members of the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Gang and former doctor, James Kauffman, was created for the mutual financial gain through the use of Kauffman’s medical practice for illegal drug distribution which culminated on May 10, 2012 with the ‘murder for hire’ of April Kauffman,” the prosecutors’ statement says.
“Prior to 2011, James Kauffman and Ferdinand Augello had a relationship which centered on James Kauffman’s medical practice. In the summer of 2011, James Kauffman solicited Ferdinand Augello to murder Kauffman’s wife, April Kauffman. This appears to be for numerous reasons largely centered on April Kauffman’s threats of divorce. James Kauffman stated he would sooner kill April than grant the divorce and lose ‘half his empire.’”
3. Kauffman Feared His Wife Would Expose His Illegal Drug Network, Prosecutors Allege
When James Kauffman objected to his wife’s divorce terms, prosecutors allege, he decided to have her killed: “April Kauffman threatened a number of actions to obtain divorce. In addition to her attempt to spend as much money as she could until a divorce was granted, April also threatened to expose the fraudulent and unlawful practices taking place at her husband’s medical office. Ultimately, James Kauffman made the decision to kill April Kauffman and, based on information and belief, Kauffman told Augello that April threatened to expose the illegal OXY distribution network they had established.”
The prosecutors further describe how they allege the plot unfolded. “The illegal drug distribution network was set up in a typical pattern of hierarchy,” it alleges. “James Kauffman and Ferdinand Augello were at the top. James Kauffman would give free scripts to those individuals sent by Ferdinand Augello. Ferdinand Augello had at least two individuals recruiting for him to obtain the scripts. In turn, those individuals then recruited additional people to receive the OXY scripts. Ferdinand Augello would receive either a cash payment of $1,000 per script or a predetermined number of pills once the script was filled. If an individual did not have insurance, they were required to pay $100 per visit. Those that would receive the scripts would either resell them or use them.”
Authorities say that the Pagans eventually found a relative of a member to commit the actual murder. “Ferdinand Augello propositioned a number of individuals to murder April Kauffman. These individuals were all Pagans, former Pagans or associated with the Pagans. He was unsuccessful for almost a year and James Kauffman was getting restless when Ferdinand Augello found Francis Mullholland. Mullholland was the cousin of a Pagan associate Joseph Mulholland and member of the drug enterprise,” says the statement.
“It is believed that Francis Mullholland received a ride to the Kauffman residence in the early morning hours of May 10, 2012. The doors were left open and Francis Mullholland was given a gun. He went inside, shot April Kauffman twice, killing her, and then left. It is believed there was payment made to both Francis Mullholland and his cousin Joseph Mulholland. It is unknown if this payment was in the form of cash, drugs or both. Francis Mullholland has stated that he received approximately $20,000 in cash for his role, though this number has been speculated at being higher. The money was picked up on the day of the murder by Ferdinand Augello’s ex-wife, Beverly Augello along with additional scripts. The scripts were used to obtain drugs that day and the money was given to FA.”
4. Prosecutors Previously Sought James Kauffman’s DNA
The enterprise continued for five years, until James Kauffman was arrested in the spring 2017 for charges that authorities said at the time were not related to April’s slaying.
Authorities said they “executed a search warrant on both the business and the residential addresses of Kauffman. Upon executing the search warrant on June 13, Kauffman displayed a Ruger 9mm handgun. Ultimately a hostage negotiator was successful in getting Kauffman to surrender to authorities. He was taken into custody at the Psychiatric Intervention Program for monitoring. Kauffman was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and obstruction of the administration of law,” the statement says.
“Following the murder, the drug enterprise continued for five additional years. Those receiving pills did change during that time; however, every person to be involved in the drug enterprise was a Pagan, former Pagan or an associate of a Pagan. The enterprise folded in June of 2017 with the arrest of James Kauffman,” the prosecutors say.
In May 2017, prosecutors made it clear that they considered James Kauffman a suspect in his wife’s death when they sought his DNA. There was some forensic evidence left at the scene.
“Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner filed a motion asking the court to order Dr. James Kauffman to provide investigators with a sample of his DNA,” reported ABC 6.
According to the television station, “It was revealed a blood sample discovered on a blanket in the guest room of the Kauffman’s home has the victim’s blood and someone else’s, but investigators don’t know who the blood belongs to.”
5. April’s Daughter Was on a Quest to Prove James Kauffman Murdered Her Mother
April Kauffman’s adult daughter suspected that her mother’s husband was behind the murder. “Her adult daughter Kim Pack believes it was her 68-year-old endocrinologist husband, Dr. James Kauffman, who shot her and is fighting to have him prosecuted,” reported UK Daily Mail.
“She filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him in civil court in 2014 and is demanding that he not see a penny of her mother’s $600,000 life insurance policy.” That action occurred in May 2017.