If all you knew about the sensational 1994 murder of a wealthy Newport Beach
businessman was based on what you heard last night on CBS “48 Hours,”
you might sympathize with the convicted killer in the case: ex-NFL
linebacker Eric Naposki.
Dressed in street clothes instead of his actual daily jail garb, Naposki not
surprisingly appeared animated and confident as he proclaimed his
innocence, slammed his prosecutor, portrayed his jurors as dupes and
predicted one day he will be absolved of any role in the murder
of William McLaughlin, who was worth more than $55 million.
“They [law enforcement] don't have any [evidence]–not one bit of what you call 'hard
evidence,'” Naposki said in a
taped interview from the Orange County Jail, where he awaits a
sentencing hearing early next year and likely life in prison punishment. “They built a case on cards and it will
come down eventually.”
The former New England Patriot and Indianapolis Colt is
right that DNA,
fingerprints or an eyewitness never tied him to the murder scene. But
circumstantial evidence—especially when there is a substantial pile of
it–also can be damning. The circumstantial evidence that landed
Naposki in his present condition was, veteran police detectives and 12
firmly believed, plentiful–even if part of it wasn't highlighted on the
Repeatedly adding significant lies to an ongoing homicide investigation normally isn't the work of an innocent person.
there is also this pesky fact that should worry Naposki's fans: The
defense tried to blame the killing on one of McLaughlin's ex-business
partners. That flopped. Defense lawyers then asked jurors to believe
that McLaughlin's son, brain-damaged and handicapped after being hit by a
drunk driver, fired the fatal shots so that he could smoke pot in
peace. That fizzled. Then they implicated unnamed, trigger-happy Mexican drug cartel gangsters.
that absurd effort tanked, the defense found another villain: Packard.
During the trial, the defense claimed that she was the mastermind and
the shooter, who slept with their innocent, gullible client for two
years in an effort to make him the key suspect. Based on the verdict,
that theory failed too.
But the ever cocky, sexually-assured Naposki–who is appealing his
conviction and whining to reporters about the alleged incompetence of defense lawyers Gary Pohlson and Angelo MacDonald–isn't done with the blame game. Last night, he told the CBS
audience that he knows the identity of the real killer: a hit man–not
him–hired by Packard, who faces her own trial in coming weeks.
guessing that prosecutor Matt Murphy and DA investigator Larry Montgomery rolled their eyes at this latest
We should too.
–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.