April Kauffman was a popular, vivacious, and provocative talk show host who advocated for veterans. On May 10th, 2012, she was discovered shot dead in her bedroom. April's daughter, Kim Pack, felt that her step-father was involved in her mother's murder. April's husband, Jim Kauffman was a doctor and he had been writing fraudulent opioid prescriptions for the Pagans motorcycle club and they were selling the pills. When April found out about the pill mill, she asked for a divorce and said she would expose everything. Jim decided to hire a member of the Pagans motorcycle club to murder his wife.
April Kauffman was described as a vivacious 47-year-old. Many people knew her from the radio as a popular and provocative, talk show host who advocated for veterans. April had a BIG personality and made a lasting impression on people. She also had a way of making you feel like you were best friends right when you met her. When she was a child, things were a bit rough for her family. When April was 11 years old, her mother put her brothers and sister up for adoption. April ended up being raised by her grandparents, but her other siblings were put in foster care. At age 17, she became a mom and was forced to grow up fast and that's exactly what she did. She became a local business woman in the catering and salon industry. April was a recipient of a governor's award for her community service work and this happened a few days before she died. April's husband, Dr. Jim Kauffman was 68 years old and a prominent southern New Jersey endocrinologist. He ran an Egg Harbor Township medical practice. The couple got married on Valentine's Day in 2003 and April had her daughter Kimberly Pack from a previous relationship. Both April and Jim were well known around town individually and they ended up being a classic power couple.
Jim had purple hearts and sharp shooter metals that he received for being in the Vietnam war. When Kim found out about this, she asked if her new step-dad could be the subject of a college project. He said she could interview him, but there would be some conditions. Rule #1, Kim could never ask Jim's mother about anything pertaining to the war. Rule #2, the tape must be destroyed when you're finished. This seems like an odd request, but Kim complied with the rules out of respect. He told her that the Vietcong ambushed his camp and stabbed him and his comrades. Everyone was left for dead and Jim decided his sole mission to stay alive was to grab all of their dog tags and get them back to their families. April felt that veterans should be treated like rock stars. (totally agree!) She fought for them on her radio show and did tons of volunteer work. These stories about Jim may have attracted her to him.
They loved to play hard, ride motorcycles and fell into a routine together. Every morning, Jim would head to his office before sunrise and he would call April at 8:30 AM. On May 10th, 2012, Jim called April as he always did, but this time it was different. The call went unanswered. He attempted to call several more times, but April never answered. Jim asked his handyman to run by the house and check on his wife. The handyman found April shot dead in her bedroom in Linwood, New Jersey. She was face down and had multiple gun shot wounds. The handyman called Jim and told him what he found, then he called the police. Jim also called the police from his office.
Then, Jim made another call, to April's daughter. She answers the phone and Jim says, Kimberly! And then he kept repeating over and over, mom's dead.
Kim felt that her stepfather was involved somehow in her mother's murder. She pulled up to the house and there were news choppers flying above. It was a media frenzy as people were realizing that the victim in this case was the popular radio personality, April. Days after the murder, rumors were flying around town and people were saying April had been cheating on her husband. Kim says there was some cheating on both sides and she did give names to the police. Now, Jim wasn't a suspect at the beginning of this case, but he lawyered up within days of the murder. And he didn't just get A lawyer, he got THE lawyer. Ed Jacobs is huge and takes on very high profile cases. He even defended Bill Cosby.
You may wonder why Jim wasn't a suspect, I mean, usually the husband did it. Well, he had a pretty good alibi. He was caught on camera at a local convenience store at the time of the murder. Now that he had a lawyer, he decided to meet with Kim at a restaurant and basically told her that his attorney is really good, he's been advised to not talk about the case and she needs to realize this thing will probably never get solved. She told him that she would never stop and walked out the door without speaking to him ever again.
On the one year anniversary of April's murder, the community got together for a candlelight vigil. It probably comes as no surprise that Jim didn't show up. He planned to celebrate in a different way. He was getting ready to auction off all of April's belongings. He hadn't given anything to Kim and she had asked for very simple things. Kim wanted her mother's family heirlooms and her Disney coffee mugs. The most reasonable request ever in this situation and he gave her nothing.
15 months after the murder, Jim got remarried. He of course claims that they met after the murder and he wanted to move on with his life. He also decided it was time to collect on April's life insurance policy and this pretty much tipped Kim over the edge. She got a lawyer and filed a wrongful death suit against her stepfather to prevent him from being able to get the $600k life insurance policy. This was SO genius on her part. She was a hound dog and was determined to get this case solved. The lawsuit gave lawyers the opportunity to question Jim under oath about his wife's death.
Five years after the murder, a former judge became the new prosecutor in town. He urged his staff to tell him which unsolved cases seemed most solvable. Where should they focus their attention first. Unanimously, the team said the murder of April Kauffman. The new prosecutor says there was a lack of effort in this case, but he was ready to prosecute. He contacted Kim and her team and said they wanted to take a second look. They had several boxes of evidence and that included a 4 ½ hour long video deposition from Jim Kaufman due to the wrongful death suit. This was the first time he was grilled about the case. During this interview, he was asked if he ever served in any branch of the military and his answer was no. He admitted that he told Kim and other people about this story, but it was all a lie. When the doctor was asked who may have killed his wife, he said it may have been the police, one of the veterans or the Pagans motorcycle gang. The Pagans are categorized as an outlaw motorcycle club and they are known to fight over territory with the Hells Angels motorcycle club.
In the deposition, Jim talked about running into the house and seeing his wife's body. He said, “I ran upstairs, I looked inside and unfortunately saw April lying there and she wasn't moving...I ran downstairs out to the lawn, and was hysterical and started vomiting.” Can we just talk about this for a second? Who on earth says unfortunately, I saw my wife's dead body?
This case took a very strange turn, it turns out, Jim was actually being investigated in another case for insurance fraud. Investigators got a warrant to search his clinic and they wanted to look at his records. Instead of letting them in, he pulled a gun on the police and refused to let anyone in. There was a 45 minute standoff and he was threatening to kill himself. It seems like Jim believed that the police were there in connection to April's murder and he was acting very guilty and was yelling things like, I'm not going to jail for this. The police finally got the doctor to surrender, but it blew up the murder investigation. They found $100k in cash and several weapons. He received weapon charges and they were able to put him behind bars while they investigated.
A former member from the Pagan's motorcycle club had a very interesting story to tell. He said the doctor was writing fraudulent opioid prescriptions for the Pagans. The gang was getting all sorts of pain killers prescribed to them and they would sell it. April found out about this pill mill and she threatened to expose it. Jim knew he had to get rid of April. He allegedly propositioned several people to murder his wife, and it took a year to find someone. He paid one of the Pagans, Francis Mulholland, $20k to murder April and this person actually died a year later of an opioid overdose from the pills prescribed by Jim. This illegal drug enterprise actually continued for another five years after April's murder.
Jim was put in maximum security and he hung himself with a laundry cord and took his life. He wrote a VERY long, six page note and claims he didn't have anything to do with the murder and that it was April who introduced him to the motorcycle gang. Jim wrote that the Pagans got aggressive with him and forced him to write the prescriptions. The Pagan ringleader, Freddy Augello (Ajello) was believed to have conspired with Jim to kill April and he was found guilty.
Some people believe April knew what was going to happen to her. April had been in the process of trying to leave Jim and was trying to get things in order. He made it clear to her that she would not be getting half of everything, that was his empire. He had also made many death threats to April in the past, but she always told people he didn't have the guts to do it.
In case you were wondering, Jim did end up selling off all of April's belongings. Kimberly's husband and sons paid for a bench to be dedicated to April and they often gather at the bench and share memories together. Two longtime friends of April's couldn't stand by and let this be the end. Lee Darby and Peggy O'Boyle raised money to buy back the items for Kim. This is literally going to shatter your heart. When they gave her the treasures, there was a note inside the first item she touched. It says, “To Kimberly, from Mom. Whenever you look at this, know you are always loved. You're so special. Best wishes for the rest of your life.
20/20 Family Secrets S40 E43