New look at NFL player Eric Naposki's involvement in murderous love triangle that led to the death of businessman Bill McLaughlin

New look at NFL player Eric Naposki's involvement in murderous love triangle that led to the death of businessman Bill McLaughlin

Former NFL player Eric Naposki is in prison for the murder of millionaire entrepreneur Bill McLaughlin who was killed in December 1994. However, Naposki refuses to admit or confess to the crime. 

Naposki was found guilty of murdering Bill McLaughlin in a case involving millions of dollars and a fatal love triangle. The Oxygen network released a crime series titled 'In Ice Cold Blood' whose most recent episode is centered around Naposki -- who played in the National Football League and World League of American Football from 1988 to 1997 -- and the murderous love triangle that he was caught in along with Laughlin's fiancee Nanette Johnston.

The murder of Bill McLaughlin

52-year-old McLaughlin was found dead by his son Kevin with six gunshot wounds on December 15 in his home in Newport Beach, California leading to the discovery of a  tragic and fatal love triangle. At the scene of the crime, shell casings from a 9mm handgun and a set of two house keys were found. A couple of hours later, McLaughlin's fiancee Johnston got back home from her kids' soccer game to discover he was dead. 

At the time, she was devastated but as police investigated further, a much darker truth was revealed. 

As police investigated further, a much darker truth was revealed. (Source: Pexels)


Growing suspicion  

The police were of the opinion that the murder was possibly done by someone who was in McLaughlin's inner circle and began to survey Johnston while she lived at McLaughlin's other beach home. It became very clear that she was seeing Naposki who was a bouncer at a local nightclub while being engaged to McLaughlin at the same time. 

A week after the murder had taken place, the authorities grew very suspicious of Naposki after he was pulled over for an outstanding traffic warrant. The investigators came to find that McLaughlin's license plate number had been etched into a notebook which was recovered from Naposki's car. 


A former investigator with the Newport Beach Police Department, David Byington, shared, "This was key evidence and obviously everybody’s eyes started turning toward Eric Naposki as being more and more important as a potential suspect in this murder."

The murderous love web

When the police questioned Naposki's relationship with Johnston, he refused to tell the truth and would constantly change his story. He initially shared with the investigators that they were "pretty close" and later admitted that the pair "were dating". It was later revealed that a month and a half after McLaughlin's murder, Naposki was shopping for an engagement ring for Johnston. 

Despite the fact that there was no murder weapon, DNA, fingerprints or any confession, the authorities pieced together with whatever little bit of evidence they had which led to the theory that Johnston and Naposki had conspired to kill McLaughlin for his wealth. It turned out that Johnston was the beneficiary of $1 million life insurance policy taken in McLaughlin's name and had forged his signature on a couple of large checks. 


At the scene of the crime, shell casings from a 9mm handgun and a set of two house keys were found.(Source: Pixabay)


The Arrests

Johnston was found guilty of grand theft in 1996 but it was years before she and Naposki were charged with the murder of McLaughlin. Detectives discovered that Johnston had been lying about what she was doing on the night that McLaughlin was murdered. She had shared she was watching her kids' football game but had left out that she was with Naposki too.

Even though Naposki had denied his involvement, he and Johnston were eventually arrested for the murder with each of them attempting to pin the blame on the other- Johnson’s counsel defended Naposki by saying that he had acted alone out of jealousy, while Naposki’s lawyers said Johnston was the mastermind of the entire plot. The prosecutors determined that both had plotted to kill McLaughlin so he would not find out about her infidelity and the embezzlement and to gain the life insurance policy. 


Naposki was found guilty of the murder of McLaughlin on July 13 in 2011 and a year later on May 18, 2012, Johnston was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the same crime. 

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 NFL player Eric Naposki love triangle Nanette Johnston death of wealthy businessman Bill McLaughlin