Judge orders release of man charged with witness tampering in Kauffman trial

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MAYS LANDING — An Egg Harbor Township man accused of witness tampering in the April Kauffman murder trial was released from jail Friday for what a judge said was a change in circumstances.

Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard E. DeLury said he granted the release of retired Pagans motorcycle club member John “Egyptian” Kachbalian due to the conviction in the murder case and the relocation of the alleged victim. He said he was also aware that Kachbalian’s health was deteriorating rapidly in jail, beyond the care that could be provided in the Atlantic County Jail.

Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Donna Weaver declined to comment regarding his release. 

Kachbalian, 56, was revealed to have a serious heart condition at a previous court appearance.

Kachbalian’s attorneys, Kenneth Young and Stephen Patrizio of Philadelphia, declined to comment after the hearing.

In August, Kachbalian was charged with witness tampering, invasion of privacy and cyber harassment for allegedly posting on Facebook a semi-nude photo of Beverly Augello, calling her a “lying rat.”

Augello, 48, of Summerland Key, Florida was serving as a witness in the state’s case against her ex-husband Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello, also a retired Pagans club member. Ferdinand Augello, 62, of Upper Township was convicted Oct. 2 of the 2012 murder of veterans advocate April Kauffman of Linwood, among other charges. Beverly Augello was a co-defendant in the same case, charged with racketeering, until taking a plea deal in mid-August, just before the Facebook post made by Kachbalian.

DeLury had ordered Kachbalian’s pre-trial detention in September saying Kachbalian would be “an immediate and clear danger” to certain witnesses in the Kauffman trial.

 

During Friday’s court appearance, Atlantic County Assistant Prosecutor Chris D’Esposito, who helped prosecute the case against Ferdinand Augello, asked the judge not to release Kachbalian.

“Our concerns are now more than ever present,” D’Esposito said, because Beverly Augello had actually testified.

Kachbalian was ordered to return to his home in Egg Harbor Township, subject to what DeLury called “a 24-hour curfew.” Young and Patrizio said after the appearance that they were unsure what that meant.

The stipulations of Kachbalian’s release also include avoiding any witnesses and the victim, Beverly Augello, as well as Ferdinand Augello or other Pagans members. Kachbalian must report to pre-trial services twice a month and is barred from social media.

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CLAIRE LOWE
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