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Former NFL Star Charged With Murder of Bill McLaughlin

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on August 12, 2010 10:03 AM

Two men, one a retired police detective and one a former NFL linebacker, are both coming out of retirement to be back in the news. However, only the detective is going to be in any way pleased about it. Retired Newport Beach Detective Thomas Voth will be preparing for the murder trial of former Colts and Patriots linebacker Eric Naposki and his former girlfriend, Nanette Packard McNeal. The two have been charged with murder in the 1994 killing of Los Angeles businessman Bill McLaughlin. They will stand trial later this year, or early in 2011.

The Los Angeles Times reports Det. Voth was the lead investigator on the case of McLaughlin's murder. On December 15, 1994, McLaughlin's son heard gunshots and went downstairs to find his father dead in the kitchen of their Newport Beach home. Prosecutors believe Packard convinced Naposki to kill McLaughlin. At the time, Naposki worked very nearby as a bouncer at a bar and according to authorities, Naposki was late for work the day McLaughlin was killed.

Prosecutors say Packard was the beneficiary of a $1 million life insurance policy and $150,000 from McLaughlin's will. Packard, who was alleged to have been dating Naposki as well as McLaughlin, is supposed to have given the key to the victim's house to the football player.

The Times reports that both Packard and Naposki had been suspects throughout the investigation, however, there was not enough evidence to bring charges. Two anonymous callers gave police a tip in 1998, and finally last year the callers were found and agreed to testify. Naposki and Packard have pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder for profit.

In California, there are many special circumstances that will raise a murder charge from second to first degree murder. One of those circumstances is murder for profit. Under California Penal Code § 190.2, murder will be considered in the first degree if "intentional and carried out for financial gain." If found guilty, Packard and Naposki could face life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

The Times writes that the defendants had long gone their separate ways. Until the arrests, Naposki was living on the East Coast and Packard was raising a family with her husband in Ladera Ranch, California.

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