Jury begins deliberations in 1994 murder case

SANTA ANA — Jury deliberations began Thursday in the case of a woman accused of conspiring with her lover to kill her wealthy boyfriend.

The majority-female Orange County Superior Court jury began meeting just before 3 p.m., as attorneys finished their closing arguments in the trial of Nanette Packard-McNeal.

Packard-McNeal, 46, is accused of conspiring with former NFL linebacker Eric Naposki to murder Newport Beach businessman Bill McLaughlin in December 1994.

Naposki was found guilty over the summer of murdering McLaughlin, 55.

Packard-McNeal's defense attorney, Mick Hill, told the court that she wasn't involved in McLaughlin's murder, and that her actions after the murder are the antithesis of someone involved in a plot to kill.

Hill argued that Packard-McNeal did the opposite of keeping a low profile by publicly spending time with Naposki before and after McLaughlin's murder, and forging a check for $250,000 from McLaughlin days after his death.

"All of these are completely inconsistent with being a part of a conspiracy," he said.

In his final statement, prosecutor Matt Murphy attempted to rebut Hill's "anti-conspiracy" theory by showing that Packard-McNeal's pattern of thefts from McLaughlin spiked just before the murder. She also went to a gun range with Naposki and lied to police about knowing Naposki owned a gun, Murphy said.

Just because she acted stupidly doesn't mean she's innocent, he said.

"You can't have months of planning followed by senseless stupidity? Yes, you can," Murphy said.

Hill contended that Packard-McNeal's relationship with McLaughlin was happy and "perfect" for her, and that she had no reason to kill 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, Hill said.

It was Naposki who acted in a jealous rage, believing McLaughlin was a threat to his relationship with Packard-McNeal, Hill argued.

Murphy told the court that McLaughlin was worth more to Packard-McNeal dead — it was only a matter of time until he caught on to her cheating or stealing.

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

Jury deliberation will continue Friday.



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