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O.C. woman's fate in jury's hands in Newport Beach murder case

January 20, 2012 |  1:58 pm

 

An Orange County murder trial has come down to whether the victim, a wealthy Newport Beach businessman who lived in a waterfront home, was worth more dead or alive to Nanette Packard-McNeal, the woman accused of plotting his death

An Orange County murder trial has come down to whether the victim, a wealthy Newport Beach businessman who lived in a waterfront home, was worth more dead or alive to the woman accused of plotting his death.

 

Nanette Packard-McNeal is charged with conspiring with a former NFL linebacker to murder her boyfriend, Bill McLaughlin, in December 1994 in order to collect on a $1-million life insurance policy.

But the 46-year-old woman’s attorney told jurors that Packard-McNeal had no reason to want McLaughlin dead because she was enjoying an upscale lifestyle with him.

McLaughlin was wealthy, away at least three days a week, owned and flew his own plane, and had homes on the beach and in Las Vegas, defense attorney Mick Hill told jurors in Santa Ana.

It was former NFL linebacker Eric Naposki who killed the businessman, acting alone because he feared Packard-McNeal might break off their relationship, Hill said. Naposki, who played briefly for the New England Patriots, was convicted last July of fatally shooting McLaughlin.

But prosecutor Matt Murphy said Packard-McNeal had been stealing money from McLaughlin and that their relationship had reached a point at which she had more to gain in having her boyfriend dead.

"She wanted Bill's money, but the relationship was coming to an end sooner or later, and she knew that," Murphy said.

Packard-McNeal has previously pleaded guilty to theft and forgery charges for taking nearly $500,000 from McLaughlin's bank accounts, including cashing a $250,000 check the day before he was shot. She was sentenced to one year in jail.

Juror deliberations in the murder trial resumed Friday.

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-- Britney Barnes and Steve Marble

Photo: Nanette Packard-McNeal. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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