A California Court of Appeal this week rejected a four-prong effort by Eric Naposki, a former NFL linebacker with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, to overturn his July 2011 conviction for the 1994, ambush murder of an ultra-wealthy Newport Beach businessman in a financial gain plot.
An appellate lawyer working for Naposki told a three-justice appellate panel based in Santa Ana that there were four errors in the trial, including the government's 15-year delay in filing charges, faulty jury instructions, biased jury and improperly excluded evidence.
But Justice WIlliam Rylaarsdam's 18-page opinion backed by colleagues Raymond Ikola and David Thompson analyzed and then rejected each point, saying they found "no prejudicial error."
The panel noted that authorities charged Naposki and his girlfriend, Nanette Packard–the victim's highly promiscuous, live-in girlfriend after a Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) cold case detective discovered new incriminating evidence; a female juror describing the ex-football player as "creepy" didn't merit her removal; and that Judge William Froeberg didn't err by blocking a cop from answering a question about Naposki's facial expressions during a post-murder interview or refusing to give a defense-proposed jury instruction on the elements murder for financial gain.
The ruling leaves 47-year-old Naposki, whose professional football career soared in Europe as a member of the Barcelona Dragons during the 1990s, continuing to serve a life sentence without the possibility for parole inside Corcoran State Prison, also home to infamous killer Charles Manson.
Packard, a serial thief and prolific gold digger who lost her conviction appeal in January, is nowadays a lifelong resident of the Central California Women's Facility at Chowchilla, north of Fresno.
Both killers might have escaped justice if not for relentless prosecutor Matt Murphy and OCDA detective Larry Montgomery, who painstakingly reviewed old evidence, chased long shot leads and ultimately found two new witnesses that tied the pair to the killing of William McLaughlin, an inventor who earned more than $100,000 a month.