MAYS LANDING — During a fishing trip in the summer of 2012, Francis Mulholland pointed to a picture of April Kauffman and told his nephew that he’d killed the radio host and veterans advocate for money, jurors in the murder trial of Ferdinand Augello were told Wednesday.
But Timothy Sarzynski never told authorities until this year after charges were announced.
“We stopped at a Wawa, he brought out a magazine cover and pointed to a picture on it and said he did that,” Sarzynski told the jury during the eighth day of the trial.
Sarzynski identified the person on the cover as Kauffman. He said he didn’t report it because he didn’t believe his uncle, who he said often made up stories.
“He told me he walked into her bedroom, shot her twice in the back of the head and was paid $50,000 to do so,” Sarzynski said.
Sarzynski of Levittown, Pennsylvania, was one of several new witnesses to take the stand Wednesday and give testimony relevant to the murder of Kauffman but nothing related to the man on trial, Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello.
Augello, 62, is accused of hiring Mulholland to kill April Kauffman in 2012 at the request of her husband, James Kauffman. Mulholland, 46, died in October 2013 of a drug overdose in his home in Lower Township.
According to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, James Kauffman, a local endocrinologist, and Augello, a sign maker and retired Pagans motorcycle gang member, were involved in an OxyContin drug ring that April found out about and threatened to expose.
To avoid a costly divorce and keep her quiet, the doctor paid Augello thousands of dollars to find someone to kill his wife.
Augello is also charged with conspiring to kill James Kauffman while he was in jail in late 2017, and also with racketeering for his role in the drug ring.
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Andrew Glick, 53, of Egg Harbor Township, is a local chef and reported Pagans member known as “Chef” who, according to a report by the Toronto Star, was a confidential informant who led investigators to Augello. He was arrested last November on narcotics charges, but that case never proceeded. The search warrant related to the murder case states the State Police narcotics task force had an active investigation involving Glick since May 2017.
Barbara Greenling, of Egg Harbor Township, is the nurse practitioner from Kauffman’s medical practice and now works at Reliance Medical Center. Greenling also made the pronouncement of death for alleged hitman Francis Mulholland at his Villas home.
Beverly Augello, 48, of Summerland Key, Florida, center, appears with attorneys Hal Kokes and Meg Hoerner to plead guilty in exchange for testimony. She was a co-defendant in the case and Freddy Augello’s ex-wife. Beverly Augello, who remained her ex’s business partner after their divorce, was charged with racketeering for her alleged role in an opioid drug ring run out of Dr. James Kauffman’s medical practice. She also allegedly delivered money from the medical office to her ex-husband after April was killed.
Daniel Garabrant of the FBI, who is a lead investigator in the murder case of April Kauffman.
Dr. James Kauffman appears with attorney Ed Jacobs at the Atlantic County Courthouse in Mays Landing. Jacobs is named as a witness for the prosecution in the murder case of April Kauffman. James Kauffman died in an apparent suicide after being charged in his wife's murder.
‘Oh, definitely not guilty,’ Freddy Augello, seen here with attorney Mary Linehan, replied when Judge Bernard DeLury asked whether he wanted to change his plea during an appearance in July. He faces life in prison if convicted of the murder of April Kauffman.
Glenn Seeler, 38, of Sanford, North Carolina, a co-defendant who took a plea deal in July, is an alleged Pagans member nicknamed “Slasher.” The June 2017 search warrant for Kauffman’s medical practice states that a confidential informant told police shortly after April’s death in 2012 that Seeler had told the informant that a Linwood doctor was supplying “dirty scripts” and wanted to hire someone to kill his wife. Seeler is shown in April with attorney Timothy Reilly, who is also named as a witness.
In this file photo, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel talks to members of the media about a body that was found in a 2010 case as Detective Ian Finnimore with the forensics division looks on. Finnimore is now named as a witness for the prosecution in the April Kauffman murder trial.
Attorney John Zarych, before Judge Bernard DeLury, Monday April 11, 2016, for a status conference at the criminal court house in Mays Landing. Zarych is the reported one-time lawyer for Andrew Glick. Glick is a local chef and alleged Pagan who, according to a report by the Toronto Star, revealed himself as a confidential informant who led investigators to Augello. He is listed as a witness for the defense.
Joseph Mulholland, 52, of Villas, alongside attorney Ed Weinstock, was a co-defendant in the case and the first to take a plea agreement in June. In a transcript of the grand jury hearing that led to indictments against Augello and the others, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Detective James Scoppa Jr. said Joseph Mulholland admitted to picking up alleged hitman Francis Mulholland and driving him to the Kauffman residence. Weinstock was named as a witness for the defense in the trial.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner is joined by law enforcement officials including James Scoppa Jr., back left, a detective at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and a lead investigator in the case. Scoppa is named as a witness for the prosecution.
Cheryl Pizza, 37, of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, was a co-defendant in the case, charged with racketeering, who took a plea deal in July. According to 2015 news reports out of Sanford, North Carolina, Pizza shot at her now ex-husband and co-defendant Glenn Seeler after a fight over text messages. In addition, Seeler and Pizza were arrested in 2013 during a search of their home in Ocean City, New Jersey, that yielded weapons and drugs. According to a search warrant related to the Kauffman case, Pizza admitted to police in 2013 that she and Seeler were getting drugs from James Kauffman.
At the sixth anniversary of her mother’s killing, Kim Pack reflects on the whirlwind of public recognition, court dates and mourning. Pack, of Linwood, is April Kauffman’s only daughter from her first marriage and the main vocal advocate since her mother was killed. In 2014, Pack sued James Kauffman trying to stop his claim to April’s life insurance policy stating she thought her stepfather was responsible for her mother’s death. She also fought to have April’s will probated and to block James Kauffman from cashing in on the sale of the Linwood home where April was killed.
Lee Darby, of Absecon, was April Kauffman’s best friend. The two met when April was still in high school as their boyfriends were best friends. Lee and April stayed friends through April’s first, second and into her third marriage to James Kauffman. “She was like my sister and we considered ourselves sisters, our daughters consider themselves sisters,” Darby said. “For five years and eight months, I pursued justice in the midst of horrific grief. I fought prayed and begged for justice. Then it came, and shook me to the core."
“She was my friend… it’s been long, five years, much too long,” said April Kauffman's former Woodstock Drive neighbor Millie Tate, named as a witness in the upcoming murder trial. “We’ve waited so long for just anything, and he showed his true colors… ‘cause he is a nut case – I mean with today, holding the gun against the police and everything.”
Paul Pagano, left, enters court Thursday with his attorney, Charles Peruto Jr. Pagano, 52, of Egg Harbor Township, is a co-defendant and an alleged Pagans member known as “Burrhead” and accused of participating in the drug ring with Augello. Pagano’s attorney, Charles Peruto Jr., has said Pagano retired from the Pagans years ago and was taking prescriptions because of a back injury. Pagano is the only co-defendant besides Augello not to take a plea deal.
• Kevin Smith is the attorney representing co-defendant Cheryl Pizza.
• John V. Maher, attorney in Atlantic and Cape May counties and a former Atlantic County assistant prosecutor.
• Sean Byrne, an attorney in Atlantic County.
• Michael M. Baden is a New York City pathologist who has served as an expert witness in many famous cases, including in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He also hosted the HBO show, “Autopsy.”
• Jessica Bonner is listed as an investigator for Atlantic County. According to state pension records, Bonner works for the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender.
• David Castaldi is a Drexel University law graduate who interned for Judge Bernard DeLury, the judge in this case, during the summer of 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile. Castaldi also interned this summer for the Office of the Public Defender, Atlantic Region.
• Spencer McInvaille is a Digital Forensics Examiner, specializing in cellular location analysis at EnvistaForensics, North Carolina, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, he was as a Violent Crimes Investigator in South Carolina, dealing with murder, robbery and aggravated assault.
• Joseph Drinhouser, of Somers Point, was interviewed by the Prosecutor’s Office while in police custody in January, shortly after the murder charges were announced, according to a partial transcript of the interview obtained by The Press.
• Timothy Sarzynski, of Pennsylvania, is the nephew of Francis Mulholland.
• Matthew Widder, of West Atlantic City. According to a search warrant in the case, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and local police were told by an informant in July 2011 that Widder was the head of an illegal oxycodone distribution network. Police surveillance in the spring of 2012 revealed Widder to be an associate of Andrew Glick. State Police in June 2012 seized Widder’s phone. In a subsequent interview with police, Widder said Glick told him about a local doctor looking to pay $10,000 for someone to kill his wife.
• Stephen Wittenwiler, of Linwood. There are two Stephen Wittenwilers, father and son. The elder, “Big Stevie,” who died in December 2014, is a Pagans member whose obituary proudly exclaimed his ties to the organization. The younger, “Billboard,” is said to also be a Pagans member and to have frequented Widder’s home in the spring of 2012, according to a search warrant in the case. The search warrant also names one of the Wittenwilers as being observed riding in Upper Township in May 2006 with Augello and two others wearing Pagans colors.
• William Gonzalez, of Somers Point, is the bird caretaker who discovered April’s body after she was murdered. He had worked for the Kauffmans for five years and, according to police, told investigators he arrived at 8:55 a.m. May 10, 2012, and entered through an unlocked front door, which he said was common. Gonzalez told investigators he received a call from James Kauffman at about 9:30 a.m. asking whether he had seen April, but Gonzelez said he had not. Two hours later, Kauffman again called Gonzalez asking him to go upstairs and check on April, which is when he found her, lying face down on the floor unconscious and unresponsive. Kauffman told investigators he left his home at 5:30 a.m. that morning and stopped at Wawa before heading to work.
• Neighbor Thomas Hauck, who lives in the house directly behind the Kauffman residence.
• Robert Holtzin, of Mays Landing, a local doctor and husband of Carolyn Holtzin, who was friends with April.
• Several Linwood police personnel including dispatcher Nicole Ott, Capt. John Hamilton, Wayne Finnegan and Chester Brown.
• Dr. Gary Collins is the chief medical examiner for the state of Delaware.
• Kevin Ruga and James Rosiello, as well as others from the Prosecutor’s Office.
Other witnesses including various pharmacy personnel.
The prosecution rolled quickly through its witness list on Wednesday morning.
Detective Sgt. Ian Finnimore of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s office took the stand and detailed the scene he encountered when he arrived at Woodstock Drive in Linwood on the afternoon of May 10, 2012, the day April Kauffman was found dead in her bedroom.
Finnimore said that as a forensic investigator at the time, he took photos of the crime scene and of the autopsy that day. April Kauffman was lying face down with her head facing the doorway when he entered the master bedroom, and he noticed small patches of blood on the side of the white bed sheets and on the carpet, Finnimore told the jury.
Finnimore said there were very little signs of struggle except for a water bottle and lotion bottle knocked over on her wooden nightstand, and the glass topper slightly askew.
Two bullets were recovered from April’s body during the autopsy by former Atlantic County Medical Examiner Hydow Park, he said. Park has since died.
The prosecution showed photographs to the jury that Finnimore took of the crime scene, including one of April’s body and a close up of the nightstand, which also contained two cell phones, a television remote, a pair of tweezers, a gold lamp and a mirrored jewelry box.
During cross-examination, Augello’s attorney, Mary Linehan, asked Finnimore about the Prosecutor’s Office obtaining three other forensic experts to review the autopsy information after Park.
According to Linehan, after Park’s report, the Prosecutor’s Office obtained noted pathologist Dr. Michael Baden in June 2012; forensic pathologist Donald Jason, who worked in Atlantic County in the 1980s, in June 2017 and most recently Delaware medical examiner Gary Collins.
“Would it surprise you if somebody rendered an opinion on a forensic matter without reviewing all the photographs that were available?” Linehan asked Finnimore.
“I can’t speak for other experts when I write expert opinion reports. I put in what I reviewed,” he replied.
Finnimore said when he is giving expert opinions, he would want to see all the photographs available.
The final witness of the day was Lee Darby, who described her and April Kauffman as “best friends” since the 1980s.
Darby, of Absecon, was also in business with April as part of a catering company. Darby testified that she spent most of every week with April for the last four years of her life, and frequently stayed at the Kauffmans’ home overnight.
Both Darby and fellow witness Julia Loftus said James Kauffman was controlling and they often called him “Perimeter Pete.”
“He was obsessive about security of the house,” said Loftus, April’s former sister-in-law with whom she maintained a close relationship.
Loftus, who sometimes house sat for the Kauffmans, said the doctor liked to keep the doors locked and only entered and exited through the garage, although Darby said sometimes the family would use the front door. Loftus described large amounts of cash in the home, mostly in $20 bills.
When asked to describe April and James Kauffman’s marriage, Darby said it was “volatile.”
“It was very rocky. He would be real sweet and endearing and then turn on a dime and be vicious and nasty,” Darby said describing their relationship during the summer of 2011.
April and James Kauffman married on Feb. 14, 2002.
Seven years later, April told her friends that she wanted a divorce. Loftus said she “regrettably” told April she would have to wait 10 years to secure alimony.
Darby said James Kauffman instead told April he “would kill her before he gives her half his empire.”
Darby said that in the late winter and spring of 2012, April Kauffman told Darby she was “holding something over his head that he would give her the divorce.”
She said that information included his fake military service and “financial things.”
Also testifying Wednesday was Mary Ann Sokalski, an employee of James Kauffman who said that the doctor rarely treated patients for pain.
Testimony on Wednesday was scheduled to include Collins and former co-defendant Cheryl Pizza, but Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy said Collins and Pizza were unable to make it.
The trial will resume Thursday with Kauffman’s former colleague, nurse practitioner Barbara Greenling, and the lead detective on the case, James Scoppa. Collins and Pizza will also testify.