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Former Kauffman co-defendants weave tale of greed, fear and prescription pills

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“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 first to take the stand, telling how she picked up the payment for the killing the morning April Kauffman was shot. She testified she didn’t know what was inside the envelope her ex-husband asked her to pick up from the doctor. She just knew that when she came in to work at their sign business at about 7:30 a.m. May 10, 2012, Freddy told her to make an appointment. Ferdinand Augello faces charges of murder, racketeering and attempted murder. That’s when Beverly Augello would go get her monthly Oxycontin prescription from Dr. James Kauffman. She and Freddy would split the 120 pills, she said. She could keep them to use or sell, at $20 to $30 per pill on the street. Nothing was different about her 9 a.m. appointment with the doctor. But when she went to leave, there was an envelope waiting by reception with “Fred” on it. Less than a half-inch thick, Augello said she took the sealed envelope to Freddy, who locked it in a drawer unopened. She said she not only didn’t know what was inside the envelope, she didn’t know that April Kauffman was dead. But Joseph Mulholland knew. He was the one who drove Francis Mulholland — who was not related — to the Kauffmans’ home that morning, knowing the plan was to kill the doctor’s wife, he testified. He made $1,000 for the ride.
Dr. James Kauffman worried that Damon Tyner would reopen his wife's case, Beverly Augello testified
Frank — a heroin addict — agreed to the killing because he wanted in on the drug ring, Joe said. But he was never a patient of Dr. Kauffman. Then, about a year after the killing, Frank Mulholland went to the doctor ranting and demanding pills and more money, Joe testified. He didn’t know if the doctor gave him either. But in October 2013, Frank Mulholland was found dead of an overdose. Prescription bottles made out to Joseph Mulholland by Dr. Kauffman were there too, although — on cross-examination — Mulholland couldn’t say why. He testified that Kauffman had offered him $100,000 in late 2011 to kill his wife, who was threatening to “blow the drug ring up.” “That isn’t my thing,” he said he told the doctor. "I was in fear for my life," Joseph Mulholland said. "I still am." “That isn’t your thing, but you were driving the car?” defense attorney Mary Linehan asked him on cross-examination. “I was in fear for my life,” he said, testifying that Augello told him “you’re next” if he didn’t make the drive. “So you were wicked scared of Fred Augello?” Linehan asked, pointing to her client as Augello quietly laughed at the notion. He said Augello had a way of making people do things. He also blamed Augello for getting him kicked out of the Herd, a support club for the Pagans. But Andrew Glick — the man who recorded Augello and testified against him for most of last week — was Pagan president at the time. The Herd’s president was not mentioned. The state also offered its first expert Monday, FBI Special Agent John Hauger, who testified about the likely location of a cell phone that had 276 calls with Dr. Kauffman, the last the afternoon before the killing. The phone was registered to a Harry Johnson at an incomplete address in Atlantic City. Beverly Augello testified that she set up that phone for Freddy, who said he was using it to talk to women. She picked the name because “it was a play on words.” While Augello said she didn’t know about the plan to kill April Kauffman, it seems she became aware of the doctor’s and her former husband’s involvement at some point. She said Kauffman had worried about Damon Tyner coming in as the new Atlantic County prosecutor and that he was “going to reopen his wife’s case.” Defense attorney Omar Aguilar shows Beverly Augello portions of the statement she gave investigators right before her Aug. 23 plea. Beverly said she told Freddy about the doctor’s and that his behavior was becoming “erratic.” She said he became more and more so leading up to the June 13, 2017, arrest. The doctor mentioned “a rat” and that “someone was talking.” Trial will continue Tuesday with someone from law enforcement, along with Joseph Drinhouser and either Glenn Seeler or Cheryl Pizza. Pizza and Seeler used to be married, but now can’t be in the same room due to a restraining order Seeler has against Pizza dating to an incident in which she shot him.

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, May 19, 2024
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