Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
WOMAN FACES TRIAL FOR 1994 NEWPORT BEACH COLD CASE MURDER OF BENEFACTOR-BOYFRIEND FOR FINANCIAL GAIN
*Defendant’s then-lover has been convicted in this case
SANTA ANA – A woman faces trial Monday for the 1994 cold case shooting-murder for financial gain of her benefactor-boyfriend in his Newport Beach home. Nanette Ann Packard, formerly Nanette Ann Johnston, 46, Ladera Ranch, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Packard’s former lover, Eric Andrew Naposki, 45, Greenwich, CT, was found guilty by a jury July 14, 2011, of one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. He faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Jan. 20, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In 1991, Packard is accused of meeting and dating Bill McLaughlin. The wealthy victim had a successful medical technology business and began financially supporting Packard. Packard, who was divorced with two children, is accused of living in a beach-front home owned by McLaughlin and also with the victim in his bay-front home.
While in a relationship and being supported by McLaughlin, Packard is accused of also dating Naposki, a former National Football League linebacker for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. Naposki worked as a bouncer at the Thunderbird Nightclub, which was located in Newport Beach only 131 yards from the victim’s home.
Packard is accused of convincing Naposki to murder McLaughlin for financial gain. She is accused of providing Naposki with a key to the victim’s home and providing him with information about McLaughlin’s schedule and when he was expected to be at the house. Packard is accused of having a $1 million life insurance policy on the victim and having provisions in his will that she would receive $150,000 in the event of his death and would have the right to live in his beach house rent free for one year.
At approximately 9:00 p.m. on Dec. 15, 1994, Naposki entered McLaughlin’s home using the house key and shot the victim six times while he was standing in the kitchen. McLaughlin’s son, a young adult who suffered brain damage as a result of being hit by a drunken driver, was upstairs listening to music and heard the gunshots. The victim’s son found his murdered father and called 911.
Naposki fled the scene and went to work. He was scheduled to work at 9:00 p.m. that night and showed up late.
On the day before the murder, Packard wrote a $250,000 check from one of McLaughlin’s accounts and deposited it into her personal account, which posted the Monday after the murder. In 1995, Packard was charged with grand theft by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) for stealing close to $500,000 from McLaughlin before and after his murder. Packard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail on March 22, 1996, for writing checks from the victim’s personal account without his knowledge, depositing them into her own accounts, and hiding the theft by altering the books to falsely show that the money went to business costs. Senior Assistant Joe D’Agostino, who was then a prosecutor in the Major Fraud Unit, prosecuted the grand theft case.
The murder was investigated but went cold. The Newport Beach Police Department and OCDA Task Force Review aimed at catching Killers, Rapists, and Sexual Offenders (TracKRS) Unit began re-investigating this case and charges were filed in 2009 as a result of the additional investigation and re-review of the original evidence. Naposki was subsequently arrested and extradited from Connecticut.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.