Augello guilt or innocence won’t hinge on proving dead man was the killer

Jurors will hear closing arguments in the murder and racketeering trial of Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello on Tuesday.
But first, the judge had to finalize the instructions they’ll be given before entering deliberations.
Final discussions happened Monday, without the jury present.
Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury made changes to the charges that included expanding who could have killed April Kauffman for Augello to still be found guilty of murder.
That Francis Mulholland killed April Kauffman has been the state’s contention since Dr. James Kauffman and seven others were charged Jan. 9 with a deadly drug ring that the doctor’s wife was allegedly killed to protect.
Francis Muholland was not charged, having died of an apparent drug overdose less than 18 months after the fatal shooting inside the Kauffmans’ Linwood home.
Augello hired him for the hit, according to the charges.
But as both sides rested last week, the state asked for a change to the charges the jury will vote on.
Rather than allege Augello hired Mulholland, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy asked that Mulholland’s name be replaced with “by another.”
That would mean anyone could have killed April Kauffman. The jury just would just have to decide whether it was at the behest — and payment — of Augello.
“I would attack that in my closing,” said Robert Gamburg, a defense attorney not involved in the case. “That says to me that the state feels their proofs — especially as to Mulholland as the killer — are weak.”
DeLury appeared to be leaning toward leaving the charge as it was Friday, but after considering the matter over the weekend, he added Dr. Kauffman’s and Joseph Mulholland’s names to the potential list of conspirators in the killing.
“It expands the scope of what the jury can consider,” said Matthew Portella, a Mays Landing-based defense attorney. “(The defense) grounded its case on pointing the finger at (Francis) Mulholland. … I’m curious why the state didn’t bring it up at the charging conversation.”
That was held two weeks ago, at start of trial, DeLury pointed out to both sides Friday.
Only four people were at the crime scene, the judge said Monday.
“Three are dead,” he said. “And one is alive and gave his version to the jurors.”

“She screamed and he fired two shots,” a witness said the man who killed April Kauffman told him not long after the killing was done. Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello’s second week of trial began with his former wife and the man who drove the killer to the Kauffmans’ home testifying against him. Beverly Augello was the … Read more

Joseph Mulholland — who is not related to Francis — pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and testified that he drove Francis to the crime, and met up with him after April Kauffman was dead. He was never charged in connection with the killing.
There has been no evidence placing Augello at the scene, DeLury noted.
“He was likely at home in his bed at the time,” he said.
In a Facebook post after the hearing, Augello — through an intermediary — posted that the hearing had taken place and mentioned “how the other team decided to change the rules of the game in the 4th quarter.”
He was careful not to mention any specifics of the case, mindful of the gag order.
Augello has promised to have a lot to say after the verdict, regardless of which way it goes.
Closings are scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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