But an unimpressed Murphy pointed his finger at Naposki—who'd been caught collecting money for organized-crime interests in New York as a teenager, according to knowledgeable sources—and said, "The shooter is sitting right there."
The prosecutor, who has never lost a homicide case, declared the theory of the photograph meaningless because the intruder didn't startle McLaughlin in the dining room. He said the victim had been in the kitchen "when the shooter comes around the corner and starts shooting . . . boom, boom, pause . . . boom, boom, pause . . . boom, boom, pause."
H. Lorren Au Jr./Orange County Register pool photo
Murphy played the 911 call McLaughlin's disabled and painfully distraught son, Kevin, made after he heard the shots and found his dying father on the kitchen floor.
"Take all the time you need," Murphy told jurors before deliberations. "But when you are done, ladies and gentlemen, you make sure there is justice for that moment. The evidence is all there."
Despite the defense's concerted effort, the dining-room picture wasn't the image that was seared into the minds of jurors who glanced at Naposki during the playing of the 911 call. Once again, this wildly cocky defendant callously smirked while the victim's daughters wept nearby. "Unbelievable" was the reaction one juror gave me about Naposki's courtroom behavior after the 12-0 guilty-verdict announcement, a July 14 decision that took just seven hours to reach.
This column appeared in print as "Eric Naposki's Rocky Murder Picture Show: Ex-NFL player hoped a crime-scene photo would save him from a homicide conviction."