One-time linebacker for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, Eric Naposki had been hoping that an Orange County judge would dismiss the murder case against him and an ex-girlfriend in the gun slaying of a wealthy Newport Beach businessman.
Defense lawyers for Naposki and Nanette Ann Packard told Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg that law enforcement had purposefully stalled making arrests for 15 years in the December 1994 killing of William McLaughlin. The result of the delay is that key exculpatory evidence was lost and the only fair remedy would be to dismiss the charges, according to the defense.
But Froeberg, one of the county's most senior criminal judges, wasn't swayed and, on April 1, he denied the request for a dismissal.
The decision wasn't a surprise. It's standard practice for the defense to seek a pre-trial dismissal. At some point--perhaps later this year--they'll get to tell a jury that the police botched their case by allegedly losing critical evidence, a claim that is sure to be disputed by veteran homicide prosecutor Matt Murphy.
Not that they're rooting for either side, but you may have heard a collective sigh of relief all the way from New York City about Froeberg's ruling. Three major television prime time news shows have already spent considerable resources prepping for what is expected to be a juicy trial.
Why not? It's got all the elements to attract viewers: a beach estate murder steps from the Pacific Ocean, more than an ample amount of sex, enormous wealth, a prolific gold-digger (Packard), an ex-pro football player and a fascinating puzzle of evidence. It's even got a Las Vegas angle.
Read my related, March 31 column HERE
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly