From Millionaire to Murdered

On December 15th, 1994 in Newport Beach, California police arrive at the home of millionaire inventor Bill McLaughlin following a call from his son Kevin McLaughlin. Because his son had brain injuries from being hit by a car when he was skateboarding some years before he wasn’t able to articulate what he needed when he called 9-1-1.

Upon arrival, police saw Bill laying on his kitchen floor covered in blood with 6 gunshot wounds, he was pronounced dead at the scene. The crime scene was immaculate, it was clean and there was fingerprints, footprints or DNA evidence left by the killer. However, there were two keys left at the crime scene, one of the keys was for the front door and the other key was for the side security gate of the home.

Police question Bill McLaughlin’s ex-wife, two daughters and son but they’re all cleared of having any involvement in the murder. So police turn their attention to his much younger fiancé Nanette Johnston but she has a rock-solid alibi and time-stamped receipts because she had been out shopping for part of the day.

Then police learn that the night before his murder Bill had a conversation with his brother where he voiced his concerns that he felt someone in his life wanted him dead.

After pleas from Bill’s two daughters police take a deeper look into his fiancé Nanette and what they find is quite interesting and eye-opening. Previously, Nanette had been married and had two children but after she was caught having an affair her husband filed for divorce then she moved to Orange County and started dating another man but she continued having affairs and eventually, she ended that relationship and left her ex-boyfriend with $91,000 of debt due to her overspending. She then met Bill through an ad in the personals where she said “if you take care of me, I’ll take care of you”. She quickly became the bookkeeper for Bill’s businesses and after a year of dating, Bill proposes to Nanette and takes out a 1 million dollar life insurance policy on himself and makes Nanette the sole beneficiary. We now know that she was having another affair but this time it was with ex-NFL player Eric Naposki.

On December 23, 1994, Eric Naposki is arrested after being pulled over by police for an outstanding traffic warrant. After taking Eric down to the police station detectives search his car and find his day planner and in it they find a handwritten note of a license plate, police run the plate number and it comes back to Bill’s white Mercedes.

Then police get a break, they trace where the spare keys found at the crime scene were cut. The keys were cut in Tustin, California where Eric lived and the shop owner confirms that Eric had asked for duplicate keys to be cut. Then when the police ask Nanette if they can see her keys, one of her keys was missing and she couldn’t explain why. Police then discover that Eric owned the same gun that was used in Bill’s murder but he tells police he had no idea where his gun is.

It’s clear to police that Eric does not have a strong alibi, he says he was with Nanette earlier in the day at her son’s soccer match which was confirmed by other attendees but then he says he was dropped home around 9 pm, he got ready for work and then headed to the Thunderbird nightclub where he worked as a security officer but the interesting thing is that Bill’s home was a 3-minute walk from the Thunderbird nightclub.

Although police suspect Nanette and Eric are involved in Bill’s murder they don’t have a motive, until Bill’s daughters give police a piece of evidence that shows that their fathers bank account were missing $250,000 which was written out in a forged check the day before his murder and Nanette had cashed the check. The daughters also find that up to $500,000 of their father’s money had been embezzled, they now believe that their father was murdered to cover up the fact that Nanette was stealing money from him. Police present this theory to the District Attorney but there is not enough evidence to charge Nanette or Eric with any crime.

Then some journalists begin to look into Nanette’s background and they start to write articles about her engagement to Bill which comes as a surprise to Eric who had been told by Nanette that she and Bill were business partners who lived in the same home and that he was sexually abusing her. Eric and Nanette end up splitting up 3 months after he learned the truth about Nanette and Bill’s relationship.

Then in March of 1996, Nanette pleads guilty to forgery and theft charges and spend 180 days in prison. Once she is released from prison she reinvents herself and gets married and has another child but the marriage ends after several years and she ends up getting $17,000 a month in child support. Then just months after that divorce she remarries again and has another child.

Then in 2007, a new detective reopens the investigation into Bill’s murder and after speaking with prosecutors they agree that the murder was orchestrated by Nanette and carried out by Eric. On May 20th, 2009 police arrest Eric on his way to work and 3,000 miles away on the same day they arrest Nanette. They are both indicted on first-degree murder charges and they both plead not guilty.

Even though the police have no forensic evidence, no DNA and no weapon they are able to get a conviction. Eric Naposki was found guilty of first-degree murder and he is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Nanette Johnston was found guilty of first-degree murder and she is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: