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Attorney: She's deceitful and dishonest, but not a murderer

Opening statements in trial for Nanette Packard-McNeal, accused of aiding her boyfriend's murder, given Monday in court.

January 09, 2012|By Lauren Williams

SANTA ANA — Nanette Packard-McNeal was described in court Monday by her own attorney as dishonest, unfaithful and only interested in men with money.

Those character flaws withstanding, she is not guilty of murder, argued public defender Mick Hill.

"She always had a lover on the side," Hill said. "Does that mean she's a killer? No."

Hill added that she would "never, ever leave Bill McLaughlin for someone with no money."

Packard-McNeal, 46, is accused of plotting with her lover, Eric Naposki, to kill her boyfriend McLaughlin, 55. She has pleaded not guilty.

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Naposki, a former NFL linebacker, in a separate trial was convicted of murder in connection to McLaughlin's death.

Inside a Central Justice Center courtroom, prosecutors gave their opening statements asserting that greed motivated the crime that happened in December 1994.

About 20 years ago, Packard-McNeal began dating McLaughlin, Balboa Coves millionaire who made a small fortune on an invention that filters plasma from blood — something that Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy described as "revolutionary in its day."

Murphy said that Packard-McNeal took credit for the invention, and in the months leading up to McLaughlin's murder, she told several people that she was going to come into a large sum of money.

"She had a very big secret," Murphy said. "In fact, she had a 250-pound secret named Eric Naposki."

While dating McLaughlin, Packard-McNeal was also secretly dating Naposki, with whom she traveled to Chicago to meet her grandmother, to New York to celebrate Thanksgiving and to Washington, D.C., for a wedding — all on McLaughlin's dime, according to Murphy.

Hill said Naposki was jealous and unaware of Packard-McNeal's relationship with McLaughlin, and shortly before the businessman's death he asked a friend to follow her.

On a PowerPoint slide titled "Common Sense," Hill wrote: "If you are motivated by money, you will not kill the golden goose to be with the pauper."

With her rich boyfriend dead, Packard-McNeal's went straight into Naposki's arms, which Hill said explains her phone calls immediately after McLaughlin's death.

Pictures of McLaughlin's bullet-riddled body were projected onto a screen in Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg's courtroom.

Also on the screen as prosecutors presented their case were images of the $900,000 homes Naposki and Packard-McNeal visited when house hunting, although neither had any money independent of McLaughlin's, prosecutors asserted.

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