A true-crime series is revisiting the murder of a popular New Jersey radio host who was shot to death by a member of a local biker gang on the order of her doctor husband after she threatened to expose their illegal drug ring.
April Kauffman, 47, was gunned down in her Linwood home by a hired hitman in May 2012. The case went unsolved for five years before her husband, Dr. James Kauffman, and a member of the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang were charged with the crime.
In an exclusive clip from an upcoming episode of the Oxygen series Killer Motive, her connection to the dangerous biker gang is explored in depth, including James Kauffman’s suggestion that they could be responsible.
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Hitman: April Kauffman, 47, (left) was murdered by a member of the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang on the order of her husband Dr. James Kauffman (right)
Revisited: April Kauffman’s daughter Kim Pack opened up about her mom’s murder on a new episode of Oxygen’s Killer Motive
April Kauffman was a local businesswoman who hosted weekly talk shows and advocated for military veterans. She had received a governor’s award for outstanding community service a few days before her death.
‘Some of the members of their group were probably veterans, attended veteran events,’ April Kauffman’s daughter Kim Pack explained in the clip. ‘They weren’t coming over for tea or barbecues or anything like that, but I’m sure she’s crossed paths with some of these individuals.’
Investigators initially wondered if April Kauffman had somehow crossed the motorcycle gang.
‘The fact that April Kauffman was a woman, and the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle group view of women, in general, plays into it,’ FBI Special Agent Daniel Garrabrant told Killer Motive host Troy Roberts.
Lead: In an exclusive clip from the episode, April Kauffman’s connection to the dangerous biker gang is explored in depth
Same circles: ‘Some of the members of their group were probably veterans, attended veteran events,’ Pack explained. ‘I’m sure she’s crossed paths with some of these individuals’
Thoughts: ‘In the Pagans Motorcycle Group, women aren’t equal to men and they don’t count equally,’ FBI Special Agent Daniel Garrabrant said
‘Basically, in the Pagans Motorcycle Group, women aren’t equal to men and they don’t count equally. So they didn’t view her as being worth very much.’
However, the truth was far more sinister.
Prosecutors said James Kauffman was running an illegal opioid ring with the Pagan Motorcycle Club. He gave free prescriptions to people sent by Ferdinand Augello and Augello would receive $1,000 per script or a number of pills after the script was filled.
In the summer of 2011, April Kauffman wanted a divorce, but after James Kauffman objected, she threatened to expose the drug ring, Atlantic County prosecutor Damon Tyner said in 2018.
Evidence: Prosecutors said James Kauffman was running an illegal opioid ring with the Pagan Motorcycle Club and worked with gang leader Ferdinand Augello
Monster: James Kauffman ordered a hit on his wife after she threatened to expose the drug ring if he didn’t grant her a divorce
Murder: Francis Mulholland was hired to shoot April Kauffman twice in a bedroom in her home. He died of a heroin overdose about a year later
Tyner said that James Kauffman told Augello about his wife’s threats and solicited him to have her killed, adding that he ‘was intent to have her killed, as opposed to losing his financial empire.’
James Kauffman was alleged to have propositioned a number of individuals to murder his wife, including a man named Francis Mulholland.
On the morning of May 10, 2012, authorities said Mulholland was given a gun — and at least $20,000 in cash — to carry out the murder.
April Kauffman was shot twice in a bedroom in her home, and her body was found by a handyman.
Crime scene: The case went unsolved for five years before her husband, James Kauffman, and Augello were charged
Loss: Friends and family are pictured leaving the Beth El Synagogue in Margate, New Jersey, after April Kauffman’s funeral
Mulholland died of a heroin overdose about a year later.
James Kauffman was arrested in 2017, five years after the murder. He was charged with murder in addition to racketeering related to the illegal distribution of narcotics through his former medical practice.
Authorities said he brandished a handgun as agents executed a search warrant and said, ‘I’m not going to jail for this!’ A hostage negotiator soon persuaded him to surrender.
On January 26, 2018, James Kauffman, 68, was found dead in his cell at 9:20 am in what authorities termed an apparent suicide at the county jail in Kearney.
No trial: James Kauffman killed himself in jail before he could be brought to trial In 2018. He maintained his innocence up until his death
Justice: Augello was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of April Kauffman, conspiracy to murder her husband, and charges related to the drug ring
According to NJ.com, James Kauffman suffocated himself and a six-page suicide note was discovered. He was not on suicide watch.
He didn’t hang himself, but instead tied something around his neck and laid face down on his bunk. As a result, it appeared he was still sleeping and staff doing rounds didn’t notice anything wrong until he didn’t respond.
James Kauffman had long maintained his innocence, a stance his attorney, Louis Barbone, repeated just weeks before his death.
Augello, who was charged with finding someone to kill April Kauffman, was found guilty in October 2018 of her murder as well as conspiracy to murder her husband James Kauffman and charges related to the opioid business run out of the doctor’s medical practice.
He was sentenced to life in prison in December 2018, but he has maintained his innocence.