Woman convicted in Calif. millionaire's '94 murder

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California woman was convicted Monday of arranging to have a former NFL player kill her millionaire boyfriend more than a decade ago to collect on a $1 million life insurance policy and other cash.

Jurors found Nanette Ann Packard, 46, guilty of first-degree murder in the 1994 shooting death of Newport Beach mogul William McLaughlin and that she committed the crime for financial gain.

Kimberly McLaughlin, the victim's daughter, clasped her hands and whispered "thank you" to jurors as they exited the courtroom in Santa Ana.

"This is in honor of my dad and all of the many people this woman has used and abused," she told reporters after the verdict. "It's a lot of closure for us."

Packard, who wore a white sweater and had her long wavy hair pulled back in a ponytail, sat with her back to dozens of McLaughlin's supporters in the courtroom. Her attorney, Mick Hill, briefly patted her back after the verdict was read.

A message was left for Hill seeking comment.

Prosecutors said Packard was dating and living with the much older McLaughlin when he was shot six times in his Newport Beach home in December 1994. But the divorced mother of two was also romantically involved with Eric Naposki, a former linebacker for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts who worked as a nightclub bouncer, authorities said.

Prosecutors accused Packard of convincing Naposki to kill McLaughlin, giving him a key to the victim's house and telling him when he would be home. She stood to collect $1 million on a life insurance policy and receive other benefits if McLaughlin died, authorities said.

Packard ended up getting at least $500,000 from McLaughlin's estate and by writing checks to herself from his account, said Matt Murphy, deputy district attorney. On the day before the murder, Packard wrote a $250,000 check from McLaughlin's account and deposited it into her personal account, authorities said.

"In this case, we really had two motives: there was love and there was also money," Murphy told reporters, adding that Packard filed a civil suit against McLaughlin's family after his death in a bid to receive more cash. "She's a greedy thief who committed this murder for money."

Authorities long suspected Naposki and Packard in the shooting death, but the case went cold for years until police said they uncovered evidence that linked the pair to the killing.

New technology for identifying the murder weapon and the willingness of a witness to come forward were key to unlocking the case - as was the relentless investigation of police, Murphy said.

In 1996, Packard pleaded guilty to writing checks from McLaughlin's account without his knowledge.

During Naposki's trial, his defense attorney argued that Packard was the only one who had a motive to kill McLaughlin, who had a successful medical technology business. Hill argued during Packard's trial that the football player acted alone out of fear she would leave him.

Packard and Naposki are each scheduled to be sentenced on May 18. Both face a sentence of life in prison without parole, Murphy said.

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