• Lynda Cohen

Detention hearings set for Kauffman, four co-defendants in 2012 Linwood killing

Updated: May 8

Detention hearings will be held Thursday for four people accused in the deadly enterprise that allegedly led to April Kauffman’s death. A fifth is set for a week later. Egg Harbor Township endocrinologist James Kauffman was allegedly in a partnership with the violent Pagan’s motorcycle club, which had him getting paid for providing them with Oxycontin prescriptions. In seeking a divorce from the doctor, April Kauffman threatened to expose what she learned of the illegal activities, according to affidavits in the case. But the enterprise was so lucrative — helping to purchase things like guitars, firearms, vehicles and a home in Arizona — the doctor decided to put a hit out on his wife instead, the charges allege. Ferdiand Augello — known as guitarist Freddy Augello — allegedly solicited several people for the job before finding Frank Mulholland, who shot the well-known veterans advocate inside her Linwood bedroom on May 10, 2012. Mullholland died the next year of a drug overdose, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner has said.

Augello allegedly sent several Pagan members and associates to the doctor regularly, acting as patients and go-betweens. James Kauffman was first arrested June 13, when the joint investigation by the FBI and Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office brought investigators with a search warrant to his Ocean Heights Avenue practice. Kauffman fled into his office, called his lawyer and then pulled a gun, according to charges. A Linwood officer’s body camera captured a standoff in which Kauffman threatened to kill himself and said he wasn’t go down for this. The footage was used to keep Kauffman jailed pending trial on weapons and obstruction offenses. It also led to his license suspension in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Although he is already detained on those charges, he will be among five of those charged in the case to go before Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury on Thursday, when it will be decided if they all will be held pending the case’s outcome. Eight people are charged in the case, but three remain held in other states pending extradition. Four of those charged — including Kauffman and Augello — appeared in court via video for their first appearances last week, also before DeLury.

Under bail reform, a first appearance must be held. At that time, the state indicates whether it will be asking for detention. Kauffman appeared from the Hudson County Jail, where he was allegedly moved for his safety. Augello, who was allegedly planning the suspended doctor’s death, is in the Atlantic County Justice Facility along with Paul Pagano, also an alleged Pagan. Augello and Pagano were seated next to each other during their appearance, chatting as they waited for the judge to take the bench. While the sound was muted at the time, Pagano was seen playfully pointing his fingers, like a gun, at Augello’s head. Augello playfully pushed him away. Pagano’s girlfriend, Tabitha Chapman, also appeared at that time. Co-defendant John Mulholland was supposed to have his first appearance, but was in the hospital for an undisclosed reason. Kauffman, Augello, Chapman and Mulholland will have their detention hearings before DeLury on Thursday. Pagano is set for next Thursday. The hearings are set to begin at with Kauffman going first at about 9 a.m. Only Kauffman and Chapman are known to have hired attorneys. Augello and Pagano were expected to apply for public defenders.

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