Two of the four remaining defendants in the April Kauffman case will appear in court Thursday as a continuation from appearances earlier this month.
Tabitha Chapman, 35, of Absecon, and Beverly Augello, 48, of Summerland Key, Florida, are scheduled for status conferences before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury on charges of racketeering. At their last appearance, attorneys for both defendants seemed to be heading for plea agreements with the county Prosecutor’s Office.
The women were both allegedly involved in a prescription opioid drug ring being run out of Dr. James Kauffman’s Egg Harbor Township medical practice. Both Chapman and Augello have pleaded not guilty. They were charged along with several others, all named as Pagans motorcycle gang members or associates, when the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against James Kauffman and Augello’s ex-husband, Ferdinand Augello, for the killing of April Kauffman.
April Kauffman, 47, was found shot to death May 10, 2012, inside the Linwood home she shared with her husband, James. The Prosecutor’s Office said James Kauffman hired a hitman to kill his wife in order to keep her from exposing his drug ring and also from winning a large divorce settlement. James Kauffman was found dead in his jail cell two weeks after the charges were announced from an apparent suicide.
Since being indicted in April, three other defendants in the case, all charged with racketeering, have plead guilty in the case: Glenn Seeler, 38, of Sanford, North Carolina; Cheryl Pizza, 37, of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina; and Joseph Mulholland, 52, of the Villas section of Lower Township.
Chapman is represented by attorney Jim Grimley, and Beverly Augello is represented by attorney Hal Kokes.
Defendant Paul Pagano, 52, of Egg Harbor Township, has a court appearance slated for 11 a.m. Aug. 30.
A trial for Ferdinand Augello on charges of murder, attempted murder and racketeering is scheduled to begin with jury selection Sept. 11.
A gag order instituted by DeLury prohibits anyone involved with the case from speaking about it.