PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With eyebrows furrowed, James Kauffman, 68, was read his rights via video conference in a brief court appearance.
Kauffman and co-defendant, Ferdinand Augello, are accused of running an illegal drug ring out of Kauffman’s medical practice. Tuesday both were charged with orchestrating the murder of April Kauffman, James Kauffman’s radio host wife in order to silence her knowledge of their alleged illegal enterprise.
April was found shot to death in May of 2012 inside of the Linwood home that she shared with Kauffman.
As Atlantic County prosecutors outlined a sobering sequence of events that culminated with the murder-for-hire, an equally twisted detail came to light Thursday, as explained by Kauffman’s Defense Attorney, Louis Barbone.
“He’s not in Atlantic County. He’s been moved according to the Department of Corrections for his own safety,” said Barbone following the Thursday appearance. When a reporter asked him to clarify why his client was moved, Barbone responded, “The plot to kill him.”
Kauffman’s own business partner is also charged with seeking to kill him too. With that, Kauffman has been transported to a separate prison 100 miles away.
“It was noted that Ferdinand Augello has been or will be charged or has been charged rather with conspiracy to commit the murder of James Kauffman so we don’t think it would be prudent for those two to be lodged together,” said Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner.
Francis Mullholland, the man accused of receiving $20,000 to kill April Kauffman, died of what was determined to be a drug overdose in 2013.
Kauffman’s attorney added Thursday that his client maintains his innocence as he has done for the past 5 1/2 years.