NJ doctor accused of paying to kill wife is found dead in jail
An Atlantic County doctor accused of arranging the slaying of his radio host wife to keep her from exposing a drug distribution ring he was running with an outlaw biker gang was found dead in his jail cell Friday in an apparent suicide.
Authorities did not release details of how Dr. James Kauffman died but say there does not appear to be foul play.
He was found alone in his cell at the Hudson County jail during a routine check of prisoners, and corrections officers checked on him when he did not respond, county spokesman James Kennelly told The Associated Press.
Kauffman was charged this month with setting up the 2012 murder of his wife, April, to prevent her from exposing an illegal drug distribution ring he was running with the Pagans biker gang.
After his arrest, Kauffman was moved to the Hudson County jail for his protection because he was the intended target of another murder plot by the gang.
Kauffman appears to have killed himself using a torn bed sheet, Philly.com reported citing unnamed sources.
Kauffman was one of eight people charged in connection to his wife's homicide.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said Kauffman spent a year plotting his wife's demise after she threatened to divorce him and expose his illegal drug practice involving the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.
The gunman who pulled the trigger died of a drug overdose a year after slaying.
His lawyer denied Kauffman's involvement in the plot.
Kauffman made headlines last year when he was arrested after a tense standoff with police on June 13. Kauffman, armed with a Ruger 9mm handgun, threatened to kill himself in an exchange recorded by police bodycams. But he was not charged with his wife's murder until this month.
Prosecutors say Kauffman asked Ferdinand Augello, who helped him run the drug ring, to kill his wife in the summer of 2011.
Augello, 61, of Petersburg, tried to hire a number of Pagans or gang associates to carry out the murder, but was unsuccessful, officials said, until he found Francis Mullholland.
Authorities say Mullholland was dropped off at the home, where the doors had been left open, went inside, shot April Kauffman twice, and left.
Prosecutors say Mullholland had claimed that he was paid $20,000 to carry out the murder, but officials believe the amount, which may have involved drugs and cash, could have been higher. The payment and additional prescriptions were picked up the day of the shooting by Augello’s ex-wife, Beverly Augello.
Mullholland died the following year.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.