A man has been convicted for murdering a prominent New Jersey radio show host as part of an alleged plot to prevent her from exposing a drug ring.
Jurors deliberated for just two hours Tuesday before agreeing to convict Ferdinand ‘Freddy’ Augello of murder, conspiracy, racketeering and other counts in the 2012 shooting of April Kauffman.
Atlantic County prosecutors say Augello, who was also known as ‘Miserable’ and the woman’s husband, Dr. James Kauffman, wanted to stop her from exposing a drug ring allegedly run by the doctor and a motorcycle gang.
Ferdinand ‘Freddy’ Augello, who is the last surviving defendant in the murder case of New Jersey radio host April Kauffman
Ferdinand Augello appears in court in Mays Landing, New Jersey on Tuesday, October 2. Jurors deliberated for two hours Tuesday before convicting Augello of murder, conspiracy, racketeering and other counts in the 2012 shooting of April Kauffman
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy told jurors that Augello received 300 calls from a burner phone used by Jim Kauffman in the months before April’s murder.
These calls, Levy said, stopped the day before April was shot to death in her bedroom in Linwood, New Jersey.
Augello’s ex-wife, Beverly, said she picked up his alleged payment inside an envelope labelled ‘Fred’ from Kauffman’s office the day of the murder.
Kimberley Pack, daughter of April Kauffman, reacts after a jury found Ferdinand Augello guilty in court
‘April Kauffman, grandmother, friend, champion for veterans’ rights, murdered in her bed,’ Levy said. ‘And yes, this defendant was absolutely responsible for that.
‘When you move the pawns out of the way, all you have staring back at you is “Freddy crime wave”, “Miserable” Ferdinand Augello,’ Levy said.
‘The leader of a racketeering organization, hands dripping red with the blood of April Kauffman.’
Defense attorney Mary Linehan questioned the reliability of the state’s witnesses, including paid witness Andrew Glick, a former gang official turned informant.
Ferdinand Augello said: ‘This is for the media: I did not kill Mrs. Kauffman, nor did I pay anyone to kill Mrs. Kauffman’
Linehan says the state’s evidence points to Glick as the perpetrator and called the state’s case ‘prosecution by multiple choice’.
Augello was said to be unmoved during the reading of the verdict, but as he was led away, he addressed the media, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
‘This is for the media: I did not kill Mrs. Kauffman, nor did I pay anyone to kill Mrs. Kauffman,’ he is quoted as saying.
Augello, a former president of the New Jersey Shore Pagan’s Outlaw Motorcycle Club, blamed Joseph Mulholland.
Francis Hulholland (left) and Dr James Kauffman (right), the other two defendants in the trial, are both now deceased
Mulholland, also a member of the motorcycle club, admitted driving the gunman, Francis Mulholland, to the Kauffman residence where the door was left open and April Kauffman was asleep in her bedroom.
Mulholland, an opioid addict, died of an overdose a year after the murder.
On January 26 2018, Kauffman, 68, was found dead in his cell at 9.20am in what authorities termed an apparent suicide at the county jail in Kearney.
According to NJ.com, Kauffman suffocated himself and a six-page suicide note was discovered. He was not on suicide watch.
Kauffman had long maintained his innocence, a stance his attorney, Louis Barbone, repeated just weeks before his death.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said on Tuesday: ‘Ultimately Dr. Kauffman was tried by a higher jury.
April Kauffman (left) with her daughter Kimberley Pack. April was a popular radio talk show host in New Jersey and a veterans’ advocate
‘It cost him his life. He couldn’t live with the weight of the evidence that would have been presented against him on this date.
‘I don’t think much of Jim Kauffman,’ Tyner said.
‘I think of the victim, April Kauffman, all the family members that were affected by his actions. I think of his role in flooding the market with Oxycodone.
‘His legacy is all of the tragedy he left behind, the lives that were lost, and the people who were affected by his mispractice of medicine.’
In June, Kauffman’s daughter Kimberley spoke about her mother’s death, six months after her stepfather died.
Kimberley Pack talked about the moment she found out her mother was dead and the brutal accusation she made to police moments later.
When Pack received the phone call her mother was dead, she raced to her home on Woodland Drive in Linwood, New Jersey. When she was told by police April had not died by natural causes she told ABC she immediately knew who was behind it.
‘Well,’ Pack told the cop, ‘you can go right over there, because that’s the person that killed my mom.’
Pack says she knew from the very start her stepfather, a respected endocrinologist in the Atlantic County area, was behind her mother’s murder.
Pack says the second she arrived at her mother’s home in New Jersey, she told the police her stepfather, respected local doctor Jim Kauffman, was behind the murder
Kauffman (left) and April (right) met while Pack was still in high school and married a year later
April and Kauffman met while Pack was still in high school. They married a year later, and the radio host seemed happy with her life and her new husband, Pack said.
Her daughter said she was initially happy for her mother, who had been unlucky in love, and hoped this time would be different for the radio host.
‘She did struggle in love because maybe she was looking for the wrong things,’ Pack told ABC.
‘I think she deserved love… I was hoping Jim Kauffman would make her happy.’
But later on into their relationship, April discovered that Kauffman’s tales of his time in the military, his Green Beret and serving in Vietnam were lies. Devastated, and perhaps feeling duped, she wanted out.
But when she gave Kauffman an ultimatum, threatening to out him as a liar if he did not let her leave, he threatened her right back.
Pack says her mother told her his response to her threats was: ‘If you tell anybody, I will go nuclear on Kimberly and the children’.
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. home in May 2012
Kauffman may have been more concerned about being outed over the alleged opioid drug ring he ran with the local Pagan biker group.
When she asked her mother what ‘go nuclear’ meant, April told Pack not to worry.
‘Don’t worry, he doesn’t have the balls to do anything,’ she told her daughter.
While Kauffman perhaps didn’t have the balls to do anything, police say he knew a lot of people who did.
Kauffman had allegedly been distributing OxyContin to the Pagan Motorcycle Club, and prosecutors allege he ‘propositioned a number of individuals to murder April Kauffman’, including Francis Mulholland.
On the morning of May 10, 2012, authorities say Mulholland was given a gun – and at least $20,000 in cash – to carry out the murder.
Kauffman was arrested in the summer of 2017 following an armed standoff with police at his medical practice, 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 the last day of the trial, Pack sat in the front row and cried as the final verdict was read out in a case which went unsolved for almost six years.
At trial, testimony showed that the gunman left the Kauffman residence and took the Linwood bike path after murdering April. The gun was never found.
An unshaven Kauffman made his initial court appearance shortly before he killed himself in January 2018. The man he allegedly hired to kill April died of a heroin overdose about a year after the killing