The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office is reopening an investigation into the 2013 death of a Lower Township man alleged to have fatally shot radio talk show host April Kauffman in her Linwood bedroom.
County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland confirmed his office is investigating the death of Francis Mulholland, which authorities previously said was due to an accidental heroin overdose.
“We’re going to look back at his death,” Sutherland said, adding the investigation is based on a referral from Atlantic County.
He declined to comment further.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office deferred comment to the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.
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Mulholland figured prominently in the case against Ferdinand Augello, who authorities said hired the Villas man at the request of April Kauffman’s husband, James Kauffman. Augello and James Kauffman were partners in a drug ring run out of Kauffman’s Egg Harbor Township medical office. The doctor died in an apparent jailhouse suicide in January after his arrest.
Augello, who was convicted in early October for the 2012 murder of April Kauffman and other charges and sentenced to life in prison, has told reporters and followers on Facebook that he believed Francis Mulholland was intentionally killed by co-conspirators to cover up the murder.
The reopened investigation was first reported on a Facebook group following the case and run by independent journalist Kevin Shelly on Monday.
At the time suspects were arrested in April Kauffman’s death, on Jan. 9, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner appeared to cast doubt on Mulholland’s cause of death, saying Mulholland died “by, at the time, what was determined to be an accidental drug overdose.”
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Two days later, in an interview outside of court Jan. 11, Tyner again stopped short of calling the death an accidental overdose.
“We don’t know,” Tyner said at the time.
A week later, his office issued a news release stating Mulholland’s cause of death as a heroin overdose. According to the news release, Mulholland, 46, was found lying on the living room floor and a blue wax fold marked “PitBull” was found nearby along with a syringe. It later tested positive for heroin.
During Augello’s trial, Mulholland’s nephew, Timothy Sarzynski, and his friend, Joseph Mulholland (no relation), both testified that Francis Mulholland pulled the trigger on the morning of May 10, 2012. Joseph Mulholland, another co-defendant in the case who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, said he drove Francis Mulholland to the Kauffman residence.
Sarzynski said that during a fishing trip months after the murder, Francis Mulholland pointed to a picture of April on a magazine cover and took responsibility for the slaying.
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“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.
During testimony, Joseph Mulholland explained how he found his friend dead in his Jacksonville Avenue home Oct. 8, 2013. As revealed during the trial, police found pill bottles prescribed to Joseph Mulholland by James Kauffman’s office at Francis Mulholland’s home. The police report states that Kauffman’s associate nurse practitioner, Barbara Greenling, was called from the Egg Harbor Township office to Villas to make the pronouncement of death.
New Jersey Department of Health spokeswoman Donna Leusner said Tuesday that the Medical Examiner’s Office is not reviewing the case.