James Kauffman, who is charged in his wife April's 2012 murder, died Friday in jail in an apparent suicide, officials said.
Kauffman was found dead at 9:20 a.m. Friday at the county jail in Kearny, Hudson County, Hudson County spokesman James Kennelly said.
The Hudson County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing and investigating Kauffman's death, the office said.
Sources said Kauffman's death was “carefully planned" and Kauffman was found face-down in the cell with a torn piece of bed sheet twisted into a wire-tight rope that was looped around his neck and around the bunk.
A long suicide note also was left near his bed, sources said.
Kauffman, 68, of Linwood, was charged Jan. 9 with leading an opioid drug ring out of his medical office and with the 2012 murder-for-hire of his wife, radio talk show host April Kauffman.
After the Jan. 9 charges were announced, Kauffman was moved Jan. 11 from the Atlantic County jail to the Hudson County jail.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said the move was for Kauffman's safety, as alleged drug-ring co-conspirator and Pagans motorcycle club leader Ferdinand Augello, who allegedly plotted to kill Kauffman, was lodged in the Atlantic County jail.
Sources said Friday that Kauffman was not on suicide watch at the jail, but was held in maximum security because of the murder charge.
"I've not heard anything directly from the warden, who is calling me back," said Kauffman's attorney Ed Jacobs. He said he was unsure of where the suicide information was coming from and did not have any further information to add.
Tyner released a statement Friday regarding the death of Kauffman, saying he "died in an apparent suicide."
"The investigation is continuing and we will have no further comment at this time," Tyner said in a statement.
“I feel bad for his widow. I think all the things that occurred in the last five years took a toll on Jim,” which he suspected led to Kauffman's death, Jacobs said.
Jacobs was referring to Kauffman's most recent wife, Carole Weintraub.
April Kauffman's daughter, Kim Pack, declined to comment Friday afternoon. Her attorney, Patrick D'Arcy, said she was too distraught to answer questions.
In 2014, Pack accused her stepfather of killing her mother after he tried to collect on her mother's life insurance policy.
“Obviously, it’s an emotional day, and I think, quite frankly, she’s still coming to grips with her own emotions on what occurred today,” D’Arcy said from his law offices Friday afternoon. “It’s been a long journey and she’s sad right now.”
Kauffman has been in jail since his arrest in June on weapons and obstruction charges after he pulled a gun and threatened to kill himself as police attempted to execute a search warrant at his Egg Harbor Township endocrinology practice. Kauffman has since had his medical license suspended.
At the time, Jacobs said he took issue with the police description of his client “brandishing” a gun during the standoff, and that Kauffman did not point the weapon at police — he pointed the weapon to himself.
D’Arcy said Friday that questions about the case moving forward should be directed to Tyner, but he expects more details will emerge as the investigation continues.
“I think that Dr. Kauffman realized he’d been found out,” D’Arcy said. "The gig was up.”
With regard to the insurance policy case, D'Arcy said its future has yet to be determined.