William McLaughlin's Killer Was Dead Serious, OC Coroner Says


Whoever killed Newport Beach millionaire William Francis McLaughlin definitely wanted him dead, according to testimony today in the trial of Eric Naposki, a former NFL player accused of murdering McLaughlin in a plot with the victim's fiancee.

Just after 9 p.m. on Dec. 15, 1994, an intruder with a key entered McLaughlin's bayfront home near Pacific Coast Highway and began firing a gun from a distance of about two feet, the jury learned today. Hollow-tip bullets tore into McLaughlin while he stood in his kitchen and drove him to the floor. A coroner testified to the devastation caused by each of the six fired nine-millimeter slugs.

“Every one was potentially fatal independently,” said Anthony Juguilon, Orange County's chief pathologist.
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With the crime committed the killer left without taking anything and
vanished while the victim's adult son, who was upstairs in the house,
and neighbors in the ritzy Balboa Coves development wondered what caused all the noise. That event launched a 17-year saga that prosecutor Matt Murphy hopes will end with Naposki's conviction and, later this year, a similar fate for Nanette Johnston, his alleged co-conspirator.

Murphy had hoped to close his case today, but more intense, prolonged battling with Naposki defense lawyer Angelo MacDonald made that impossible. The prosecutor will finish Thursday morning with his final witness, Jenny McLaughlin's,
one of the victim's daughters. Then, at some point tomorrow, MacDonald
will give an opening statement to the jury and begin calling defense
witnesses for the former New England Patriot.

One last note: MacDonald was incensed that Newport Beach Police Department detective Dave Byington,
who participated in the case before he retired, testified that
detectives had “tirelessly” searched for alleged Naposki telephone
records that may have bolster his alibi even though the department
asked for the documents from the phone company 14 years after the
murder. The phone company's response? We destroyed them seven years ago.
“Tirelessly?” said MacDonald. “That's ridiculous.”

–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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