Kimberly Pack, the daughter of slain Linwood radio host April Kauffman, claims her stepfather is the killer in papers filed in federal court to block the widower from $600,000 in life insurance money.
“Plaintiff James Michael Kauffman is responsible for the intentional killing of April Kauffman on May 10, 2012,” states the 13-page document filed in Camden U.S. District Court Thursday.
But the widower’s lawyer insists his client is not guilty and the daughter’s suit is “about money, period.”
April Kauffman, 47, was found fatally shot in the bedroom of the Linwood home she and Dr. James Kauffman shared. While there has been speculation about her husband, no one has been charged with the crime or publicly named as a suspect.
Last summer, the doctor filed a claim against Transamerica Life Insurance Co., claiming that it breached the contract by not paying out on two life insurance policies on his wife that name him as beneficiary: one for $100,000 and one for $500,000.
In its response, the company said it needed to make sure James Kauffman was not responsible for the death, because the so-called “Slayer Statute” bars anyone involved in an intentional killing from receiving benefits.
“Law enforcement authorities would not confirm that plaintiff is not suspected of such responsibility,” the company’s attorney, Robert Lesko, wrote in September.
Because April Kauffman’s daughter, Kimberly Pack, is the contingent beneficiary, the company had her added to the case.
“I have purposely tried to avoid directly talking about what happened,” Pack said in a brief news conference held at her lawyer’s Egg Harbor Township office Thursday. “After being brought into this lawsuit, I have no choice but to respond and begin to fight for what I know is right. I can no longer sit back and allow what I perceive as an injustice to occur. I know that my mother would not want me to sit silently any longer.”
Her attorney, Patrick D’Arcy, said there already is a “massive investigation” into the case being done by the D’Arcy Johnson Day law firm, which has set up a hotline for tips at (844) DJD-TIPS.
“We look forward to the day Dr. Kauffman is put under oath and asked the questions everyone has wanted asked over the last two years,” he said.
But defense attorney Ed Jacobs — whom the doctor retained a day after the killing — said making the claim and proving it are two different things.
“And the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, with all its resources in more than a year, has made no such claim,” he said. “That’s because no such evidence exists. Dr. Kauffman had absolutely nothing to do with his wife’s unfortunate, unsolved homicide.”
Jacobs said Kauffman has remained cooperative with the Prosecutor’s Office and that investigators have had access to “every conceivable shred of potential evidence.”
“What’s really at stake here, what we must not lose sight of, is there was an insurance policy on April’s life, and those proceeds are payable upon her death,” Jacobs said, adding that the only way for Pack to claim the money is to allege that her stepfather was involved in the killing.
Pack had never previously said publicly her stepfather killed her mother, but she did take issue when the doctor auctioned off her mother’s belongings, including those that should have been family heirlooms. Several friends got together and bought some of those items to give to Pack.
Since his wife’s death, James Kauffman has remarried and is no longer living in the Linwood home.
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