<
>

Former linebacker, ex-girlfriend charged

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- A former NFL linebacker and his
ex-lover were charged Wednesday with killing a wealthy Orange
County businessman for financial gain nearly 15 years ago.

Nanette Packard McNeal and Eric Naposki, who played in the late
1980s for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, were
arrested and each charged with one count of murder.

Both long had been suspected in the December 1994 shooting death
of multimillionaire William Francis McLaughlin, 55, but were not
arrested at the time because police hadn't found the 9mm handgun
used in the shooting, among other evidence. Authorities declined to
specify what new evidence was found.

"We feel at this point we have sufficient evidence to prove
they were responsible for the death of Mr. McLaughlin," said
Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district
attorney's office. The victim's family "deserves justice and
closure for the murder of their father."

McNeal, 43, McLaughlin's former girlfriend who was known at the
time as Nanette Ann Johnston, stood to collect $1 million in life
insurance from his death, authorities said. She also was accused of
writing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of checks drawn
from his accounts.

Police said Naposki, 44, who was romantically involved with
McNeal, is believed to have shot McLaughlin six times at his
Newport Beach home. Naposki was given a key to McLaughlin's home by
McNeal, authorities said.

McNeal pleaded guilty in 1996 for stealing nearly $500,000 from
McLaughlin before and after his death. She was sentenced to one
year in jail.

McNeal at the time denied that she or Naposki were involved in
the shooting. On Wednesday, after she was put in a police squad car
and led to jail, she maintained she wasn't guilty.

Naposki was arrested in Connecticut and will face extradition
proceedings. McNeal was arrested in Orange County and is scheduled
to be arraigned Friday. Emami said she didn't know if they had
retained attorneys.

McLaughlin founded a company that developed a device that
separates plasma from blood. He had an estimated $55 million
fortune, according to court records.