Doc charged with having wife killed to protect drug ring
A New Jersey doctor running an illegal prescription opioid drug ring with a motorcycle gang had a member hire someone to kill his wife after she threatened to expose the scheme while trying to force him to agree to a divorce, authorities said today.
James Kauffman and a member of the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang were charged in the May 2012 shooting death of radio host April Kauffman. Another six people connected to the gang were charged with racketeering in the drug ring, which prosecutors said continued until last summer, when Kauffman was arrested at his office while brandishing a gun.
Kauffman "was intent to have her killed, as opposed to losing his financial empire," Atlantic County prosecutor Damon Tyner said.
Ferdinand Augello, the Pagan charged with finding someone to kill April Kauffman, also was charged today with trying to have James Kauffman killed, authorities said.
Kauffman has long maintained his innocence and denies any involvement in his wife's death, his attorney Ed Jacobs told Philly.com. It wasn't immediately known if Augello or any of the other defendants had lawyers to represent them.
April Kauffman's daughter, Kimberly Pack, who had long alleged that her stepfather killed her mother, said the death "forever changed my life."
"I have been waiting patiently for justice, and today I was lucky enough to be granted justice," Pack said. "I think for the first time, today I can actually breathe."