Doctor Accused of Wife's Murder-for-Hire Didn't Want Her to 'Take Half of His Empire': Victim's Daughter
New Jersey doctor James Kauffman was a controlling spouse who threatened his wife before her death in their home five years ago, the victim's daughter says
James “Jim” Kauffman — a well-known New Jersey endocrinologist who killed himself six months ago while in jail awaiting trial for allegedly hiring someone to murder his wife — was a controlling spouse who repeatedly threatened his wife before her slaying in their home, according to the victim’s daughter.
One of Kauffman’s favorite sayings may have been a hint about his future plans, April Kauffman’s daughter, Kim Pack, says in an interview on Friday’s 20/20.
“He had made it clear to her that she wasn’t going to divorce him and take half of his empire — that was his famous words,” Pack says in an exclusive clip from the episode, above.
Kauffman, 68, was indicted along with seven other people in the shooting death of 47-year-old April, a radio host.
Authorities have alleged she was killed in 2012 after she threatened to expose a drug distribution ring that her husband ran with the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club.
April’s body was found on May 10, 2012, in her Linwood, New Jersey, home. When Pack arrived on the scene, she accused Jim of being involved, according to ABC. But Jim had an alibi.
Five years later, however, authorities accused him of involvement in his wife’s killing. He was formally charged in her case in January and killed himself in his jail cell later that month.
Speaking to 20/20, Pack discusses her mother’s complicated relationship with Jim as well as his unusual behavior following her death — including auctioning off her personal items and remarrying 15 months later.
“I would be talking to my mom and he would come and turn the lights off and walk out of the room,” Pack explains, adding that Jim controlled her mother’s access to money and called occasionally when she was out, wanting to know her whereabouts and who was around her.
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April hosted a popular program on WIBG, a radio station broadcasting out of Ocean City, New Jersey. Pack says that in the months before her mother died, she was preparing herself to leave Jim.
Jim told police he had nothing to do with his wife’s death, but prosecutors suspected he wanted her killed because she was planning to divorce him and expose his alleged connection to the drug ring. According to prosecutors, April’s homicide was planned over the previous year.
“It was determined that a long term alliance between members of the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Gang and former doctor, James Kauffman, was created for mutual financial gain through the use of Kauffman’s medical practice for illegal drug distribution which culminated on May 10, 2012 with the ‘murder for hire’ of April Kauffman,” prosecutors have alleged.
James objected to “a favorable divorce settlement” and April had threatened “to spend as much money as she could until a divorce was granted,” prosecutors said.
April had said she would allegedly “expose the fraudulent and unlawful practices taking place” at her husband’s medical office, according to authorities — specificallyJim’s participation in the larger drug distribution network.
She did not fear for her life, according to her daughter.
Pack says her mother “had made it clear over the years that he threatened to kill her several times but would always follow that up with, ‘But he doesn’t have the guts to do it.’ And [she] always came back to making you feel like it was okay and they were just words.”
20/20 airs Friday (10 p.m.) ET on ABC.