In the days leading up to today's sentencing hearing, Eric Andrew Naposki told anyone who would listen he did not murder a wealthy Newport Beach businessman in 1994--and plenty of media outlets obliged the former NFL linebacker.
But it was justice, prosecutor Matt Murphy and the family of the late Bill McLaughlin that won when time ran out. Naposki, 45, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole--plus five more years in state prison.
"Our dad planned his life around family time: Sunday brunches, family dinners and family vacations," Kimberly McLaughlin said in a victim-impact statement presented in court. "Any excuse to enjoy each other and get that quality time together. And because of Eric's selfish reasons, he decided to take my dad away from us.
"Thankfully, there is one thing that [he] cannot take from us no matter what. That is the intense and abundant amount of love my dad gave us all the years we got to spend with him."
Though Naposki played with the New England Patriots and Indianaoplis Colts, he was a 27-year-old nightclub doorman who couldn't afford to buy a car and rented a modest Tustin studio apartment in 1994. McLaughlin, who lived 131 yards from the club, was a 55-year-old millionaire, earning more than $100,000-per-month thanks to his successful medical technology business.
Their connection to one another: Nanette Ann Johnston.
A 29-year-old woman at the time, she was seeing both Naposki and McLaughlin romantically. The Newport Beach man's murder was a cold case for years before new evidence reopened it in 2009. The evidence suggested Johnston and Naposki, who by then was residing in Greenwich, Connecticut, co-conspired to kill McLaughlin for his money. Both were was subsequently arrested.
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An Orange County Superior Court jury found Naposki guilty in July 14 of one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. Naposki then claimed he could prove who the real killer was, proving that timing is not his strong suit but providing stories for a hungry media was.
Now known as Nanette Packard, 47, of Ladera Ranch, Naposki's former lover was also found guilty by a jury on Jan. 23 and also sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.