I covered Channel 6 Action News reporter Annie McCormick and her true crime book on the murder of New Jersey radio personality April Kauffman, “The Doctor, the Hitman, and the Motorcycle Gang,” in two previous columns here.
Ferdinand “Freddie” Augello, the man convicted of arranging her murder, is currently serving out his sentence at the New Jersey State Prison. Augello was also convicted of orchestrating a “pill mill” with Kauffman’s husband, Dr. James Kauffman, who committed suicide in prison before he could answer charges of hiring a hitman to murder his wife.
Known in outlaw biker circles as “Miserable,” Augello is a former Pagans chapter president in Cape May County. The alleged hit man that prosecutors say Augello hired, Francis Mulholland, died of a drug overdose before he could be arrested and charged. Augello’s fellow Pagan, Andrew Glick, became a cooperating witness against Augello, as did Joseph Mulholland, the man who drove the hitman to April Kauffman’s house.
Augello read my two McCormick columns and reached out to me from prison to respond. In the interest of fairness, I felt I should present his comments here.
I read Annie’s book and there is a lot missing. To begin with, Dr. Kauffman and Joseph and Francis Mulholland murdered April, not I.– “Freddie” Augello
“Yes, I was interviewed by Annie McCormack,” Augello said.
“I read Annie’s book and there is a lot missing. To begin with, Dr. Kauffman and Joseph and Francis Mulholland murdered April, not I. Her book doesn’t tell half of the story of the railroad job that was my trial.”
Augello was also critical of Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner and Sgt. James Scoppa, a detective with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I am waiting for my appeal, and when it occurs, there will be a lot of people under oath and my wrongful conviction will be exposed. Damon Tyner has allowed the actual confessed accessory to murder to go free.”
He said the Pagans, his motorcycle club, had nothing to do with the murder case and the prosecutor’s own informants told the jury that on the witness stand.
“I am an artist and professional musician, and all this biker hype stuff is just a shiny object to create a story that is just not there and to turn this into a bad episode of ‘The Sons of Anarchy.’ This is really disingenuous.”
Of course, the prosecutor does not agree.
Kauffman stated he would sooner kill April than grant the divorce and lose ‘half his empire.’– Damon Tyner
Back in December of 2018, Tyner held a press conference in Mays Landing, N.J. to announce the judge sentenced Augello to life in New Jersey state prison plus 30 years for the murder of April Kauffman and other charges.
“In the summer of 2011, James Kauffman solicited Ferdinand Augello to murder Kauffman’s wife, April Kauffman. This appears to be for numerous reasons largely centered on April Kauffman’s threats of divorce. Kauffman stated he would sooner kill April than grant the divorce and lose ‘half his empire.’ Augello propositioned a number of individuals to murder April Kauffman,” Tyner said.
“These individuals were all Pagans, former Pagans or associated with the Pagans.
“He was unsuccessful for almost a year, and James Kauffman was getting restless when Ferdinand Augello found Francis Mulholland. Mulholland was the cousin of a Pagan associate Joseph Mulholland and member of the drug enterprise.”
Tyner said that the drug enterprise folded in June of 2017 with the arrest of Kauffman.
“While every defendant has a right to appeal the jury’s verdict and the sentencing in this matter, we are confident that those immediately responsible for the death of April Kauffman are either dead or incarcerated,” Tyner said.
Augello told me that the police found nothing incriminating or illegal in his schoolteacher fiancé’s home when the police raided the house and arrested him. He said the raid terrorized his fiancé and her two college-aged daughters. He also said there was nothing incriminating and illegal found at his place of business when the police searched it.
“The supposed hit on Dr. Kauffman, that I was charged with, was a fraud that had been concocted by Andrew Glick and his handler, Sgt. James Scoppa,” Augello said.
“Tyner lied when he said the doctor had to be moved to Hudson County jail because of threats to his life. Eight months later, at my trial, both Glick and Scoppa said that the ‘hit plan’ was fictitious. There are so many things in my case that are just like this.
“Annie, like most media people, rely on the pure sensationalism that this case embodies. A lot of bizarre things happened in this case.”
He said the prosecutors and the media have painted him as a violent and misogynistic outlaw biker character. He noted that anyone who truly knows him will say he is quite the opposite.
“They needed a sacrificial lamb, and I am it,” Augello said.
Paul Davis’ Crime Beat column appears here each week. He can be reached via pauldavisoncrime.com.