Jury convicts Pagan biker of plotting radio host's murder-for-hire, running pill ring

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A former chapter president of the Pagans Motorcycle Club was found guilty Tuesday of plotting a woman's murder and attempting to have her husband killed in jail to cover up a drug ring the woman was threatening to expose.

A jury found Ferdinand Augello guilty in Superior Court in Mays Landing, after a trial that lasted just more than two weeks, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced. The attorneys in the case had made closing statements Tuesday morning.

After hearing the verdict, Augello faced the media sitting on the opposite of the courtroom. He denied his role in the crimes and said "I'll be back."

One of his attorneys, Mary Linehan, later told Breaking AC that they would appeal the decision.

Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy sought to cast Augello, a 62-year-old Upper Township resident also known as "Miserable," as the mastermind of an Oxycontin pill ring that relied on James Kauffman, an endocrinologist who practiced in Linwood, to supply prescriptions.

At trial, Levy called several witnesses -- many of them former Pagans -- who testified that Augello directed them to make "appointments" with Kauffman where the doctor would write a prescription for the painkiller. The people sent to Kauffman's office would later use the drug, sell it on the streets (if they paid Augello $1,000) or give some of the pills to Augello.

Glick went back several times afterward to get pills to sell or give to Augello, he said. He and others testified in exchange for immunity or lessened charges.

The arrangement held up for a few years before Kauffman started asking around about having his wife, April Kauffman, killed. The host on WOND, an AM talk-radio station, had threatened to tell someone that her husband wasn't a Vietnam veteran, that he was involved in the pill ring. 

"She was going to divorce him. She was cheating on him. He wasn't going to give her half his wealth, which was almost $5 million," Glick said.

For months, Levy argued, Augello asked around about arranging a hit on the doctor's wife. Glick, acting as a cooperating witness with the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, even recorded a  Pagan talking about the offer that had been made to him.

Ultimately, Francis Mulholland was driven to the Kauffman home on Woodstock Drive in Linwood early on May 10, 2012. The doors were open and someone gave him a gun, with which he shot April Kauffman twice in her bedroom. 

Mulholland later died of a drug overdose in 2013 at 46. He had previously stated that he was paid about $20,000 for his role in the killing, though it may have been more, the county prosecutor's office said.

Augello started talking about having Kauffman killed in jail, becoming suspicious of him after seeing a letter from Kauffman's attorney urging the investigation of Augello and Mulholland. 

Kauffman was later transferred to the Hudson County Jail after authorities became aware of threats on his life; he later killed himself in his cell when his cellmate was in court for the day.

Linehan, who defended Augello with Omar Aguilar, had called it a "too-big-to-fail" prosecution, critiquing the money spent on travel and lodging for witnesses including Glick. She later called for a mistrial on the ninth day of trial, saying documents found in a former Pagan's home contained her  name and created a conflict. 

Judge Bernard DeLury later denied her request.

"While they might say justice was not swift in this matter, a jury determined that it was fair," Tyner said in a statement. "It is my hope that April's family will now be able to find some measure of peace, knowing that those responsible for their loved one's death have all been punished in one form or another."

In a recorded interview after the verdict, Levy said there wasn't one specific bit of evidence that led to conviction. 

"When you look at the volume of it, when you look at everything put together, it was kind of overwhelming that he did these bad things," he said.

Augello was also guilty on counts of racketeering, leading a drug trafficking network, and distributing and conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5.

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