The New Jersey doctor accused of plotting to kill his own wife after she threatened to expose his alleged role in an opioid distribution ring has died in prison in an apparent suicide.
James Kauffman’s body was found Friday morning in his cell at the Hudson County Jail.
The details of his death were not immediately revealed, but sources told NJ.com that he had suffocated after tying something around his neck and lying face-down in his bed.
The same source told the site that Kauffman, 69, was not on suicide watch, and a six-page note was found.
Kauffman had been in jail since his arrest in June 2017, but was recently moved to the Hudson County Jail for his own safety after credible threats to kill him at Atlantic County Jail were discovered.
Earlier this month, Kauffman was charged with murder and racketeering in what prosecutors described as a murder-for-hire plot carried out on his wife, April Kauffman, who was fatally shot by an intruder in the couple’s Linwood, N.J., home in May 2012.
April Kauffman was a local radio talk show host.
As the years went by and the case turned cold, the slain woman’s daughter, Kimberly Pack, had suspicions about her stepfather, the doctor.
“It feels like I’m living some kind of weird made-for-TV movie,” Kimberly told Inside Edition earlier this week. “It just doesn’t seem real, it doesn’t seem right.”
Authorities now believe the doctor hired a hit man to kill his wife because she was threatening to expose his alleged involvement in a drug ring. He was allegedly running the drug ring from his medical office with members of the notorious Pagan’s Motorcycle Club.
The president of a local chapter of The Pagans, Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello, was also charged in the murder case. He claims he is innocent.
“Jim Kauffman was a busy man with all of his crimes,” prosecutor Damon Tyner told Inside Edition. “He was sort of like a one-man crime spree.”