Authorities say, Dr. James Kauffman, a New Jersey doctor charged with having his wife assassinated to keep her from exposing his secret drug distribution ring, was found dead in his jail cell Friday.
Details surrounding Kauffman's death were not released but authorities say they suspected suicide and saw no signs of foul play. The disgraced doctor was found alone in his cell at the Hudson County jail and when guards checked on him he did not respond, according to county spokesman James Kennelly.
Kauffman was charged with arranging the 2012 murder of his wife, April so that she would not expose his illegal drug distribution ring. The illegal drug ring was run by Kauffman and the Pagans biker gang. After his arrest, the murdering doctor was subject to numerous death threats causing authorities to transfer him from the Atlantic County Jail in Mays Landing to the Hudson County Jail near New York City.
A co-defendant in the murder case was charged with trying to have Kauffman killed in jail so that he could not go to trial and testify against him. Kauffman was 68-years-old when he died and lived in Linwood, New Jersey. His co-defendant who tried to have him killed is 61-year-old Ferdinand Augello of Petersburg, New Jersey.
Both were arrested earlier this month and charged with murder for the death of Kauffman's 47-year-old wife, a local talk show host named April. She was known for advocating for veterans and had won a community service award from the governor just days before her untimely passing.
Atlantic County authorities say the investigation is still ongoing and has not released any details of the case. According to Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner, Kauffman told Augello about his wife's threats and solicited him to have her killed. A year later, a man named Francis Mullholland agreed to do it.
Mullholland was driven to her home where the doors were left open for him and he was given a gun. He went into Kauffman's residence and shot April twice in return for about $20,000 in cash but was later found dead of a drug overdose. Atlantic County prosecutors say they have also charged Augello for planning to kill James Kauffman.
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