The New Jersey doctor accused of arranging his radio host wife’s murder was found dead in his jail cell Friday morning in an apparent suicide.
A source told NJ.com that Dr. James Kauffman, 68, had suffocated himself in the Hudson County jail and left behind a six-page suicide note. Dr. Kauffman is not believed to have hanged himself; instead, he tied an unknown object around his neck and laid face down in his bunk.
This method made it appear as if he was still sleeping when guards did their rounds, according to the source. Guards reportedly remained unaware that he had taken his own life until he didn’t respond.
Though the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office wouldn’t reveal details surrounding Friday’s discovery, they said they were notified by the jail of an apparent suicide and that he was transferred to the jail due to “credible threats to his life.”
Despite this, NJ.com reports that Dr. Kauffman was not on suicide watch at the time of his death. This would be the fifth suicide to be carried out at this jail in the past eight months–with two occurring last week, according to the newspaper.
The New Jersey doctor, along with motorcycle gang leader Ferdinand Augello, were charged this month in connection with the May 2012 murder of his wife, radio host April Kauffman, 47. As CrimeOnline previously reported, April was shot several times at their Linwood home and suffered a deep laceration on her arm.
The victim’s daughter, Kim Pack, has accused Dr. Kauffman of killing her mother to collect on her life insurance policy.
Meanwhile, prosecutors said Francis Mullholland, 46, the man accused of firing the fatal shots, died of a heroin overdose in October 2013, the Courier-Post reported.
“It is believed that Francis Mullholland received a ride to the Kauffman residence in the early morning hours of May 10, 2012,” prosecutor Damon Tyner alleged.
“The doors were left open and Francis Mullholland was given a gun. He went inside, shot April Kauffman twice, killing her, and then left.”
Though authorities determined early on that the May 2012 slaying wasn’t random, the case went cold for years until a newly sworn in prosecutor made a bid for Dr. Kauffman’s DNA. The endocrinologist has been jailed since June, after allegedly pulling a gun and threatening to kill himself as police executed a search warrant, according to the Press of Atlantic County.
In addition to his wife’s murder, Dr. Kauffman was also charged with selling opioids out of his medical office. Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner explained that Dr. Kauffman was moved to Hudson County after Augello, who allegedly planned to kill the doctor, was also housed at Atlantic County jail.
“I think that Dr. Kauffman realized he’d been found out,” Pack’s attorney, Patrick D’Arcy speculated. “The jig was up.”
[Featured Image: Dr. James Kauffman and April Kauffman/Police Handout]