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Ex-NFL linebacker is found guilty of murdering Newport Beach businessman

July 14, 2011 |  3:58 pm

Photo: Defendant Eric Naposki listens as Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy offers his closing statements during Naposki's murder trial in Santa Ana on Tuesday. Credit: H. Lorren Au Jr. / Associated Press A former NFL linebacker was found guilty Thursday of shooting a wealthy Newport Beach businessman to death in his seafront home in a plot to collect on a $1 million life insurance policy.

Eric Naposki, a onetime linebacker with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, allegedly plotted William McLaughlin’s murder with the businessman’s fiancee, Nanette Ann Packard.

The slaying had been one of the more perplexing unsolved homicides in Orange County until Naposki and Nanette Ann Packard were arrested in 1999.

The ex-football player, who at the time of the slaying was working as a bouncer at the Thunderbird Nightclub in Newport Beach, was accused of entering McLaughlin’s home with a key Packard had provided and then shooting McLaughlin, 55, six times in the chest.

McLaughlin’s 24-year-old son, upstairs at the time of the shooting, told police he heard the shots and then found his father’s body. He said the intruder, however, was gone.

The case went cold until police said they uncovered evidence that linked Packard and Naposki the killing.

McLaughlin’s violent death shocked the normally quiet Balboa Coves community where he was a fixture. The businessman was well known in medical circles after inventing a prototype blood-filtering device for collecting plasma.

Packard is also charged in her fiance's death and is expected to stand trial later this summer. She has already pleaded guilty to theft and forgery for taking nearly $500,000 from McLaughlin’s bank accounts, including cashing a $250,000 check the day before he was shot.

Authorities said Packard and Naposki were romantically involved at the time of the incident.

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-- Lauren Williams and Steve Marble

Photo: Defendant Eric Naposki listens as Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Murphy offers his closing statements during Naposki's murder trial in Santa Ana on Tuesday. Credit: H. Lorren Au Jr. / Associated Press

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