Murder suspect James Kauffman, 68, has been found dead in his New Jersey jail cell
Authorities say a New Jersey doctor accused of arranging the murder of his radio host wife to keep her from exposing a drug ring he was running with a biker gang has been found dead in his jail cell, having apparently killed himself.
A spokesman for Hudson County says Dr. James Kauffman, 68, was found dead in his cell at 9:20 a.m. Friday in what authorities termed an apparent suicide at the county jail in Kearney.
They did not release details of how Kauffman is believed to have taken his own life, but say there does not appear to be any indication of foul play.
Kauffman was charged with arranging 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.
Kauffman had been moved to Hudson County Jail in Kearney, New Jersey, for his protection where he took his own life
April, a radio talk show host was gunned down in her home in May 2012.
Kauffman had long maintained his innocence, a stance his attorney, Louis Barbone, repeated just weeks ago.
‘We’re saying what we’ve been saying for the past few years: He’s not guilty,’ Barbone said.
Kauffman was charged with murder in addition to racketeering related to the illegal distribution of narcotics through his former medical practice.
Kim Pack, daughter of murder victim April Kauffman, poses with a photo of her late mother, talk-show host April Kauffman
An unshaven Kauffman made his initial court appearance earlier this month
Kauffman had also been charged with 1st degree racketeering
The charges, including those relating to the wife’s murder-for-hire and the alleged plot to kill James Kauffman came after more than five years of investigation.
‘He’s sort of a one-man crime spree,’ Tyner said of Kauffman, who was arrested last summer following an armed standoff with police at his medical practice.
April Kauffman’s daughter, Kimberly Pack, who had long stated that her stepfather killed her mother, said the death ‘forever changed my life.’
Pack had earlier fought a legal battle against her stepfather sparked by his attempts to claim April Kauffman’s two life insurance policies.
His claim was turned down because prosecutors couldn’t provide a letter saying he wasn’t considered a suspect.
The casket of April Kauffman is carried from Beth El Synagogue, in Margate, N.J., after the funeral service Monday May 14, 2012
Police work the scene of the fatal shooting of April Kauffman, a local radio talk show host, businesswoman and community volunteer found dead in her Linwood, N.J.
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.
In the summer of 2011, April Kauffman wanted a divorce and after James Kauffman objected she threatened to expose the a drug ring that he was involved with.
Prosecutors said the drug empire lasted until June, when Kauffman was arrested on weapons charges at his Egg Harbor Township office.
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 persuaded him to surrender.
For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255