Former NFL player convicted of murder
A jury on Thursday found a former NFL linebacker guilty of
killing a Southern California millionaire nearly 17 years ago.
Orange County jurors found Eric Naposki guilty of first-degree
murder in the shooting death of William McLaughlin in his Newport
Beach home in 1994. The panel also found true a special
circumstance allegation that Naposki committed the murder for
financial gain and that he personally discharged a firearm.
Naposki, wearing a pink shirt and tie, shook his head as jurors
read the verdict. As he was led away from the courtroom in
handcuffs, he mouthed `I love you’ to his fiancee, who was crying.
Several jurors stayed after the verdict to speak with the victim’s
family but declined to discuss the case with reporters. His fiancee
declined to comment.
Sentencing for the former New England Patriots and Indianapolis
Colts linebacker is scheduled for Oct. 21.
Authorities said Naposki was romantically involved with
McLaughlin’s girlfriend, Nanette Johnson Packard, who stood to
collect $1 million in life insurance from McLaughlin’s death. She
also is charged with murder and her trial is scheduled for later
Both Naposki and Packard had long been suspected in the 1994
shooting death, but the case went cold until police said they
uncovered evidence that linked the pair to the killing.
McLaughlin’s daughter, Kim McLaughlin, spoke with reporters
outside the courthouse after the verdict was read.
”My dad is honored today. We’re very grateful. This is one
down, one to go,” said McLaughlin while fighting back tears.
Prosecutors said Naposki was given a key to McLaughlin’s home by
Packard and shot him six times. After the shooting, Naposki headed
to his job at a nearby bar where he was a bouncer, prosecutors
Defense attorneys argued that Naposki had an alibi and that
Packard was the only one who had the motive, means and opportunity
to kill McLaughlin.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said outside court
that investigators retraced the route from a Santa Ana Denny’s
restaurant to McLaughlin’s home to rebuff defense attorney’s claims
that Naposki could not have made it there in time to be the
”He told a million lies when he spoke to the police,” Murphy
said, adding that investigators drove multiple possible routes.
”Once that was done it was crystal clear that Eric Naposki
committed that murder,” Murphy said.
Defense attorney Gary Pohlson was not present outside the
courthouse for comment after the verdict was announced. A phone
message left at his office was not immediately returned.
Packard also was accused of writing hundreds of thousands of
dollars’ worth of checks drawn from his accounts. Packard pleaded
guilty in 1996 to stealing nearly $500,000 from McLaughlin before
and after his death. She was sentenced to one year in jail for that
McLaughlin made his fortune as the founder of a company that
developed a device that separates plasma from blood.