Naposki murder trial opens

Opening statements were heard against former football player and nightclub bouncer in murder of local millionaire.

June 20, 2011|By Lauren Williams,

SANTA ANA — In opening statements Monday, a prosecutor described a former NFL linebacker charged with murder as a desperately broke former athlete who couldn't hold down a job and had one thing going for him: a rich girlfriend.

Prosecutors claim that Eric Naposki entered the house of Bill McLaughlin on Dec. 15, 1994, and shot the Newport Beach millionaire six times for financial gain.

Naposki was dating McLaughlin's girlfriend, Nanette Ann Packard, who had taken out a $1-million life insurance policy on the businessman and stood to gain $150,000 annually in free rent at McLaughlin's beachfront home in the event of his death.


Deputy District Attorney Matthew Murphy described Naposki as "beyond broke" and deeply in debt, but who had started a new relationship with the girlfriend of a wealthy man that allowed him to travel across the country on romantic getaways — on McLaughlin's dime.

During a 2 1/2-hour PowerPoint presentation to jurors and a courtroom packed with about 80 spectators, Murphy outlined interviews between police and Naposki where, prosecutors allege, he became increasingly defensive. Murphy pointed to circumstantial evidence that Naposki owned the same type of gun used in the slaying, and that that gun was loaded with the same type of bullets when it was found with a friend.

"The one good thing for Mr. Naposki: the relationship with Nanette progressing nicely," Murphy said.

"At 9:10 and one second, when Mr. McLaughlin's heart stopped beating, Nanette became a millionaire."

Naposki, who played for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in the late 1980s, worked as a bouncer at the Thunderbird Nightclub, which was 131 yards from McLaughlin's home, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. On the night of the murder, Naposki was said to have arrived late, and prosecutors believe that Naposki left the crime scene and went straight to work.

In his opening statements, Murphy noted that the killer had an original pedestrian key with access to the area — something that was coveted and difficult to acquire unless someone lived in the community, as Packard did.

He also noted that Packard and Naposki were house shopping just before McLaughlin's death, looking for homes in the $900,000 range, despite the fact that neither of them had any assets of their own.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles