Witnesses named ahead of April Kauffman murder case

THUMPERRRR's picture

MAYS LANDING — Next week, Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello will stand trial for the murder of Linwood’s April Kauffman, a veterans advocate and radio host found dead in her home in 2012.

Augello, 62, of Upper Township was charged in January along with April’s husband, James Kauffman, in the six-year-old murder case that captivated the region and was featured on national news. His alleged co-conspirator, James Kauffman, died in an apparent jailhouse suicide two weeks after the charges were announced.

Prosecutors have accused Augello, a retired Pagans motorcycle gang leader, local musician and sign maker, of hiring Francis Mulholland to kill April Kauffman at the request of James Kauffman. Mulholland died in 2013.

In addition to murder, the state alleges James Kauffman and Augello ran an illegal opioid drug ring out of James Kauffman’s office, and that Augello conspired to have James Kauffman killed after April’s death.

Augello has maintained his innocence, even after Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury issued a gag order in a bid to prevent media interest from influencing the trial. Augello also has attempted to spare the name of the Pagans.

So far, five other defendants in the case who were charged only with participating in the drug ring have taken plea agreements in exchange for testimony during the hearing. A sixth co-defendant, alleged Pagans leader Paul Pagano, 52, of Egg Harbor Township, rejected a plea agreement and will go to trial separately, a judge said Friday.

 
 

With jury selection for Augello set to begin Sept. 11, preliminary witness lists for the defense and prosecution in the murder trial of April Kauffman were provided by the courts and included an array of people from throughout the region.

Since the original witness lists were released in mid-August, a new set of lists has been submitted. A records request by The Press for the updated list was denied by the court, saying the document had been filed as “confidential.”

Attorney Lloyd Levenson said that while having an amended list is not unusual, having a confidential list is.

Levenson, who has had much experience on both sides of the courtroom — including trying former Linwood Councilman and Pagans member Ken Weaver in the 1980s — said witness lists can provide an insight into each side’s strategy.

Levenson said real trials are very different from Hollywood versions. He said that state court rules make it nearly impossible to not let the other side know what evidence you have.

“Normally, there’s no surprises,” Levenson said. “Everyone on (the list) is someone you expect to be there. There are no secrets; it’s not 'Perry Mason.'”

He said the witness lists also help weed out partial jurors during jury selection.

In the preliminary lists, Augello’s attorney Mary Linehan listed mostly the defense lawyers of her clients’ co-defendants. Levenson said he was “mystified” by that choice.

“It’s quite unusual,” he said.

He said lawyers are bound by attorney-client privilege, so the “witness attorneys” would not be able to offer insight into anything their clients told them. Levenson said they could speak to the details of the plea agreements, but that those are already part of the record.

The Atlantic County prosecutor’s original list focused on witnesses who had a relationship to April Kauffman or were involved in the 2012 response to her death, including April’s daughter, best friend and sister-in-law. The list also includes all of Augello's co-defendants in the case who have taken plea deals, and the one co-defendant who has maintained his innocence.

From the prosecution’s list, Levenson said it seems they are laying out the history of the case.

“Why wouldn’t you want to start from the beginning?” he said, but added it's unlikely the prosecution will call all the witnesses named.

Possible witnesses in the April Kauffman murder trial

1 of 20
 
 

Who's who on the defense witness list*:

John Zarych is the reported one-time lawyer for Andrew Glick. Glick is a local chef and alleged Pagan who, according to a report by the Toronto Star, revealed himself as a confidential informant who led investigators to Augello.

James Grimley is the attorney for co-defendant Tabitha Chapman, 35, of Absecon, who took a deal last week, pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess opioids and agreeing to testify in the state’s case.

A. Harold Kokes is the attorney for Augello’s ex-wife and co-defendant, Beverly Augello, 48, of Summerland Key, Florida, who also took a plea deal last week.

Charles Peruto Jr. is the eccentric Philadelphia criminal attorney who represented serial killer Gary Heidnik and alleged mob boss Joey Merlino, and is now representing co-defendant Paul Pagano, of Egg Harbor Township, a Pagan accused of participating in the drug ring with Augello.

David Castaldi is a Drexel University law graduate who interned for Judge Bernard DeLury, the judge in this case, during the summer of 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile. Castaldi also interned this summer for the Office of the Public Defender, Atlantic Region.

Oded “Ed” Weinstock is the attorney for co-defendant Joseph Mulholland, the first co-defendant to take a plea agreement in the case. Weinstock has said his client is not related to the alleged hitman, Francis Mulholland, although Augello has said he believes they are.

Timothy Reilly is the attorney for co-defendant and Pagan’s member Glenn Seeler, of South Carolina, who took a plea deal last month.

Michael M. Baden is a New York City pathologist who has served as an expert witness in many famous cases, including in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He also hosted the HBO show, “Autopsy.”

Jessica Bonner is listed as an investigator for Atlantic County. According to state pension records, Bonner works for the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender.

Hydow Park is the former Atlantic County Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy of April Kauffman, declaring she died of two gunshot wounds. Park died shortly after retiring in 2014 at his home in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, according to former colleagues.

Meghan Hoerner is a former Cape May County chief assistant prosecutor who now works as private attorney. Hoerner most recently represented Beverly Augello in a separate cocaine-possession charge she acquired in April during a motor vehicle stop in Upper Township.

Kevin Smith is the attorney representing co-defendant Cheryl Pizza.

John V. Maher, attorney in Atlantic and Cape May counties and a former Atlantic County assistant prosecutor.

Sean Byrne, an attorney in Atlantic County.

*This list is the preliminary witness list as provided to The Press by the court. It has since been updated, but a request for a copy of the new list was denied by the court.

Who's who on the prosecution’s witness list*:

Pagans and associates

Beverly Augello, 48, of Summerland Key, Florida, was a co-defendant in the case and Freddy Augello’s ex-wife. Beverly Augello, who remained her ex’s business partner after their divorce, was charged with racketeering for her alleged role in an opioid drug ring run out of Dr. James Kauffman’s medical practice. She also allegedly delivered money from the medical office to her ex-husband after April was killed. She took a plea deal in August and agreed to testify.

Tabitha Chapman, 35, of Absecon, was a co-defendant in the case, also charged with racketeering, who took a plea deal last month, as well. Chapman’s mom and Freddy Augello used to date, according to both Augello and Chapman’s attorney James Grimley.

Joseph Mulholland, 52, of Villas, was a co-defendant in the case and the first to take a plea agreement in June. In a transcript of the grand jury hearing that led to indictments against Augello and the others, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Detective James Scoppa Jr. said Joseph Mulholland admitted to picking up alleged hitman Francis Mulholland and driving him to the Kauffman residence.

Cheryl Pizza, 37, of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, was a co-defendant in the case, charged with racketeering, who took a plea deal in July. According to 2015 news reports out of Sanford, North Carolina, Pizza shot at her now ex-husband and co-defendant Glenn Seeler after a fight over text messages. In addition, Seeler and Pizza were arrested in 2013 during a search of their home in Ocean City, New Jersey, that yielded weapons and drugs. According to a search warrant related to the Kauffman case, Pizza admitted to police in 2013 that she and Seeler were getting drugs from James Kauffman.

Glenn Seeler, 38, of Sanford, North Carolina, a co-defendant who took a plea deal in July, is an alleged Pagans member nicknamed “Slasher.” The June 2017 search warrant for Kauffman’s medical practice states that a confidential informant told police shortly after April’s death in 2012 that Seeler had told the informant that a Linwood doctor was supplying “dirty scripts” and wanted to hire someone to kill his wife.

Paul Pagano, 52, of Egg Harbor Township, is a co-defendant and an alleged Pagans member known as “Burrhead” and accused of participating in the drug ring with Augello. Pagano’s attorney, Charles Peruto Jr., has said Pagano retired from the Pagans years ago and was taking prescriptions because of a back injury. Pagano is the only co-defendant besides Augello not to take a plea deal.

Andrew Glick, 53, of Egg Harbor Township, is a local chef and reported Pagans member known as “Chef” who, according to a report by the Toronto Star, was a confidential informant who led investigators to Augello. He was arrested last November on narcotics charges, but that case never proceeded. The search warrant related to the murder case states the State Police narcotics task force had an active investigation involving Glick since May 2017.

Joseph Drinhouser, of Somers Point, was interviewed by the Prosecutor’s Office while in police custody in January, shortly after the murder charges were announced, according to a partial transcript of the interview obtained by The Press.

Timothy Sarzynski, of Pennsylvania, is the nephew of Francis Mulholland.

Matthew Widder, of West Atlantic City. According to a search warrant in the case, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and local police were told by an informant in July 2011 that Widder was the head of an illegal oxycodone distribution network. Police surveillance in the spring of 2012 revealed Widder to be an associate of Andrew Glick. State Police in June 2012 seized Widder’s phone. In a subsequent interview with police, Widder said Glick told him about a local doctor looking to pay $10,000 for someone to kill his wife.

Stephen Wittenwiler, of Linwood. There are two Stephen Wittenwilers, father and son. The elder, “Big Stevie,” who died in December 2014, is a Pagans member whose obituary proudly exclaimed his ties to the organization. The younger, “Billboard,” is said to also be a Pagans member and to have frequented Widder’s home in the spring of 2012, according to a search warrant in the case. The search warrant also names one of the Wittenwilers as being observed riding in Upper Township in May 2006 with Augello and two others wearing Pagans colors.

April Kauffman’s friends, family and associates

Kimberly Pack, of Linwood, is April Kauffman’s only daughter from her first marriage and the main vocal advocate since her mother was killed. In 2014, Pack sued James Kauffman trying to stop his claim to April’s life insurance policy stating she thought her stepfather was responsible for her mother’s death. She also fought to have April’s will probated and to block James Kauffman from cashing in on the sale of the Linwood home where April was killed.

Adele (Lee) Darby, of Absecon, was April Kauffman’s best friend. The two met when April was still in high school as their boyfriends were best friends. Lee and April stayed friends through April’s first, second and into her third marriage to James Kauffman.

Julia Loftus, of Margate, is April’s sister-in-law from her first marriage. According to a search warrant in the case, Loftus worked for April’s catering company from 2008 to 2011 and cleaned James Kauffman’s medical office weekly, continuing to do so for months after April’s death. Loftus told police she saw multiple guns in the Kauffman residence, including one each kept near their side of the bed.

William Gonzalez, of Somers Point, is the bird caretaker who discovered April’s body after she was murdered. He had worked for the Kauffmans for five years and, according to police, told investigators he arrived at 8:55 a.m. May 10, 2012, and entered through an unlocked front door, which he said was common. Gonzalez told investigators he received a call from James Kauffman at about 9:30 a.m. asking whether he had seen April, but Gonzelez said he had not. Two hours later, Kauffman again called Gonzalez asking him to go upstairs and check on April, which is when he found her, lying face down on the floor unconscious and unresponsive. Kauffman told investigators he left his home at 5:30 a.m. that morning and stopped at Wawa before heading to work.

• Neighbors Thomas Hauck, who lives in the house directly behind the Kauffman residence, and Mildred Tate, who also lives nearby.

• Robert Holtzin, of Mays Landing, a local doctor and husband of Carolyn Holtzin, who was friends with April.

James Kauffman’s associates

Barbara Greenling, of Egg Harbor Township, is the nurse practitioner from Kauffman’s medical practice and now works at Reliance Medical Center. Greenling also made the pronouncement of death for alleged hitman Francis Mulholland at his Villas home.

Edwin J. Jacobs, of Atlantic City, is James Kauffman’s former attorney whom he retained in 2012 just after April was killed. 

Experts and investigators

• Several Linwood police personnel including dispatcher Nicole Ott, Capt. John Hamilton, Wayne Finnegan and Chester Brown.

Daniel Garabrant of the FBI, who is a lead investigator in the case.

James Scoppa Jr., a detective at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, who is a lead investigator in the case.

Dr. Gary Collins is the chief medical examiner for the state of Delaware.

Ian Finnimore of the Prosecutor’s Office. According to press archives, Finnimore is a forensic crime scene detective and has given testimony in court previously during murder trials.

Kevin Ruga and James Rosiello, as well as others from the Prosecutor’s Office.

Other witnesses including various pharmacy personnel.

*This list is the preliminary witness list as provided to The Press by the court. It has since been updated, but a request for a copy of the new list was denied by the court.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Country: 
State: 
Group / Club: 
News Article written by: 
CLAIRE LOWE
Source of News article: 
pressofatlanticcity.com




Related Articles


Elk Hunt   Fly Fishing Guide
  Silver Stock
  Biker News

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are solely those of the writer, and may not reflect the beliefs of anyone at the Biker News Network/Outlaw Biker World. This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you believe that your copyrighted work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement and is accessible on this site or through this service, you may notify our copyright agent, as set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). For your complaint to be valid under the DMCA, it must meet certain criteria, and you must Click Here to contact acting agent.