Daughter of slain Shore radio host accuses widower

Posted: January 24, 2014

IT'S BEEN whispered for more than 20 months on beach blankets, in bleachers at sporting events and on websites dedicated to April Kauffman's memory.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office has never accused her widower, Dr. James M. Kauffman, in the fatal shooting of the popular South Jersey radio host inside their Linwood home in 2012.

But yesterday her daughter, Kimberly Pack, put the rumor on the record. Attorneys for Pack filed a counterclaim in U.S. District Court in Camden on her behalf, challenging her stepfather's effort to collect April Kauffman's $600,000 life-insurance policy.

"Plaintiff James Michael Kauffman is responsible for the intentional killing of April Kauffman on May 10, 2012," the counterclaim alleges.

April Kauffman, 47, was shot to death and found the morning of May 10, 2012, by a man who cared for her pet birds in the Woodstock Drive home the couple shared. Dr. Kauffman gave a statement to investigators and hired Atlantic City defense lawyer Ed Jacobs shortly after, and her slaying remains unsolved.

In June, Dr. Kauffman filed a lawsuit against Transamerica Life Insurance Co., seeking $600,000 in death benefits as the beneficiary of April Kauffman's policies. Transamerica had not paid because Dr. Kauffman could not supply a copy of the police report.

Transamerica, citing New Jersey's "Slayer Statute," told Dr. Kauffman that "payment of death-claim benefits could not be made without first determining that plaintiff had no involvement with the death of the insured, April Kauffman."

A longtime friend of April Kauffman's said she had a "very bad relationship" with her husband that was "fairly well-hidden from most of the general public." When Dr. Kauffman, an endocrinologist, put most of his wife's belongings up for auction last year, friends tried to buy as much of it as they could for her daughter.

Kauffman, according to Philadelphia property records, bought a home in Old City with a woman in July for $925,000, although their relationship was unclear yesterday. The woman and Kauffman posed for a picture posted on Facebook in June, arm-in-arm at the Union League on Broad Street. That woman said she got married in August.

Pack, who bears a striking resemblance to her mother, made a short statement yesterday at her attorney's office in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County.

"I can no longer sit back and allow what I perceive as an injustice to occur," Pack said, her voice wavering. "I know that my mom would not want me to sit back any longer."

Transamerica, according to court documents, contacted law enforcement to determine whether Dr. Kauffman was a suspect or whether the investigation was complete, and got no answer. The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office declined to comment on the civil litigation yesterday and said the criminal investigation was ongoing.

Jacobs said the surviving spouse is always the first person authorities look at in a murder case, and that despite that, no one besides Pack and her attorneys have made this accusation against his client.

"This is about money, period," Jacobs said.

Pack's lawyer, Patrick D'Arcy, said his client was pulled into the suit by the insurance company as the second beneficiary of April Kauffman's policy. His office is seeking information about the case as well, at a toll-free number, 844-DJD-TIPS.

"We look forward to the day that Dr. Kauffman is put under oath and asked the questions that everyone has wanted asked for nearly two years," D'Arcy said. "We will not rest until justice is served."

On Twitter: @JasonNark

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