Eric Naposki Lawyer Slams Police For Arresting an Innocent Man

Angelo_MacDonald_03.jpg
OC Register media pool photo
MacDonald blames shoddy police work for his client's arrest
In a 64-minute opening statement, Eric Naposki's defense lawyer told an Orange County jury that "common sense" proves the former NFL player could not have gunned down a Newport Beach millionaire because evidence demonstrates "he was somewhere else" during the killing that rocked the ritzy oceanfront community.

"This word 'alibi' is thrown out so much, but I submit to you that it is a reasonable defense if it is established," said Angelo MacDonald, who--along with co-counsel Gary Pohlson--told jurors about an 8:52 p.m. phone call Naposki made from a Denny's restaurant in Tustin about 18 or 19 minutes before the December 1994 murder of William McLaughlin in his house near the Balboa Peninsula. "Mr. Naposki could have never gotten into that house and done the murder, not even if he were superhuman. Couldn't have happened . . . . He has a solid, reasonable, logical alibi. He simply could not have done it."

Prosecutor Matt Murphy, a ranking member of District Attorney's elite homicide unit, contends that Naposki did have time to make it to McLaughlin's home and fire six fatal nine millimeter, hollow-tip bullets in a conspiracy with his girlfriend at the time. Nanette Johnston, who will face a jury later this year, simultaneously dated the exceptionally wealthy McLaughlin, then 55 years old, and the dirt poor Naposki, 27. Unaware of her promiscuity, the businessman left Johnston, 29, more than $1 million in his will. Evidence shows that she was impatient. She plundered hundreds of thousands of dollars from McLaughlin's bank accounts before, during and after the murder.

But MacDonald told jurors that sloppy, lazy Newport Beach police detective work ignored critical exculpatory evidence to make Naposki, who played linebacker for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, a prime suspect.

"Eric Naposki told the police everything they needed to know [about his alibi shortly after the crime]," said MacDonald, himself a former Bronx, New York homicide prosecutor. "He gave the date and the time and the name of the person he talked to on the phone on the night of the murder. He even gave the police that man's telephone number."

MacDonald and Pohlson allege that police failed to investigate Naposki's alibi and then waited almost 14 years to arrest him seven years after the phone company destroyed records of the 8:52 p.m. call. Law enforcement had asked an unswayed Superior Court Judge William Froeberg to ban admission of evidence of the call because, in part, it was Naposki's 1995 lawyers who oddly lost the record. The current defense team has been close to irate that Newport Beach police detectives allowed the phone record to be destroyed before asking for it.

"Somebody dropped the ball here," said MacDonald. "Somebody dropped the ball big, and now Eric Naposki is on trial for murder."

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OC Register media pool photo
Prosecutor Matt Murphy listens today to his courtroom opponent
(Later--after MacDonald finished his opening statement, Pohlson summoned a defense witness, onetime Naposki private investigator Jim Box, who testified that in 1995 he saw Naposki's phone bill containing the 8:52 p.m. call. Between the time of the 1994 crime and the 2009 arrest, that key record was lost. Given the prolonged time gap, the defense describes this fact as an unfair burden.) 

Calling his client "a patsy," MacDonald argued to a rapt jury inside Judge Froeberg's Santa Ana courtroom that "you can't find someone guilty of murder based on innuendo" and he provided jurors the "most likely" identity of the killer: Johnston.

"The defense is going to prove that Nanette Johnston is an accomplished liar, thief, manipulator, con woman and promiscuous gold-digger," he said. "Combine those qualities with the fact that she's pretty good looking, is in great shape, is young and has the ability to literally charm the pants off men. She is the only person in the world with the motive, means and opportunity--and callousness!--to pull off this murder."

To underscore his claims, MacDonald displayed a crime scene photograph introduced earlier by Murphy. The image shows a cup with liquid and relatively neat stacks of papers on a dining room table and a nearby chair.

"This photograph really tells all about this case," said MacDonald. "It's what's not in it that's important. The papers [on the table] aren't askew. The cup wasn't knocked over. The chair isn't knocked over. Mr. McLaughlin got up from that chair to greet somebody he knew."

The defense claims that if McLaughlin--an ex-U.S. Marine who remained in excellent physical condition--hadn't known the person who walked into his house, he would have knocked things over in a rush to stand up and confront the intruder. The implication? Johnston's entry into the room would not have caused alarm.

Said MacDonald, "The reason the killer got close [within two feet, according to the coroner] was because the killer was someone he knew."

McLaughlin and Naposki never met. Indeed, the businessman didn't even know Naposki existed.

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OC Register media pool photo
Naposki (center) enters the courtroom today
It's the defense theory that after killing McLaughlin, Johnston rushed to the Crate & Barrel at South Coast Plaza to establish an alibi with a receipt time stamped 9:29 p.m.--some 18 or 19 minutes after the murder. About 15 minutes later, she obtained another receipt for four items from a different mall store and then drove to McLaughlin's house, where she lived.

"That is classic trying to create an alibi," argued MacDonald.

In other words, Johnston framed Naposki--who, on the night of the murder, worked as head of security at a Newport Beach nightclub about 400 feet from the crime scene, according to the defense.

"There was a fatal mistake [in her plot]," said MacDonald. "She never counted on Eric Naposki getting that [phone page]."

Then the lawyer made a promise to the jury.

He said, "We are going to show that Nanette Johnston is the likely shooter and the killer of Mr. McLaughlin and that Mr. Naposki is not guilty of these charged crimes."

The trial--which has lured producers from CBS's 48 Hours and NBC's Dateline--begins its ninth day on July 5 after the holiday break.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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8 comments
eddiesinitsky
eddiesinitsky

PLEASE READ IM GOING TO SEND THIS TO ERIC NAPOSKI"S LAWYERS RIGHT AFTER I POST IT ON FACEBOOK


Although the episode of 48 hours wasn't enough to see all the evidence to who really did it, Eric Naposki is an innocent man. His lawyers weren't intelligent enough to pull it out of their asses that their client was innocent. What man with two kids (whether he adopted them or has a wife and kids now [The episode was not clear]), you can hear it in his voice that he is an innocent man. He was a professional player for christ's sake. That doesn't come without being a strong-willed person, along with the responsibilities of being a father! I'm appalled that this man is in jail and its all because of the the legal system in the United States.

First off, his lawyers need to do a better character analysis of their client. I'm guessing he had a pretty good career in the NFL, made a decent amount of money for the years he played in the NFL. Whether he spent it all and survives off of his security business and his job at THUNDER or simply that he lost his money, he is an innocent 50+ year old just trying to live his life and just does not have the necessary funds to defend himself. 

The lawyer of Bill McLaughlin's daughters can argue that he is just doing his job, or its simply that he has no soul (or children if he can't see that he is taking an innocent father away from his children). Although it is not his job, he needs to look into Eric's life and see that he had nothing to do with it, as he was too busy with his own family. It was all that women, Nanette Johnston. And I don't mean to be sexist (I grew up with my sister and mother until I was at 10+ because my father would have to support us by working night shifts, so he'd leave before I'd come back to school and I'd only see him on the weekends), she needs to come out and say that he had nothing to do with it. If she has a heart (which she probably doesn't since she killed a man), she would tell the judges and jury that it was all her.

Nanette Johnston is rightfully in jail, whether she remembered that her name was in the will and she would receive some of his life's earnings, or she was being threatened by Bill McLaughlin that made her crazy enough to think that she was going to get away with murder. After she was in jail for forging Bill's signatures, she obviously moved on from Eric and Eric moved on from her! His next relationship with with his kids. She jumped from millionaire to millionaire living amazing lives until she probably found the boyfriend that convinced her to kill him for the same reason she wanted to kill Bill, again whether it be because he was contacting her all these years after with something that could ruin her life, she had a life realization that the only way she could get out of it was by killing him. She seems insane enough to believe that should could get away with it, especially after tricking herself into believing that she was actually living a real life.

As to Eric's behavior towards the trial: he had long forgotten about that awful women Nanette. He was being a man in not ratting on her because the police do an awful job in explaining what she was actually involved in, like I would if I had loved a woman and all the sudden I'm hearing about this forging case that sent her to jail, only to never see her again. Since Eric's lawyers weren't educated enough to prove that he was not guilty the first time, the innocent man spent months in jail only to come back with a helluva lot more evidence that STILL didnt save him. When he came out of jail for his second trial, that was the only chance to reveal the killer as a person she had hired because he now had the evidence to try and shut her down. Yet he was still somehow related to the phone calls that were made on Nanette's phone. Now if she kept in contact (Nanette and Eric), then my story is invalid. 

What Eric's lawyers need to do is find all of Eric's phone records, whether he has a cell phone or home phone, email or any single way of communication and prove that he had no contact with Nanette until he was wrongfully arrested and trialled as guilty. As well as find her phone records, as they were capable of doing before, from the day she stepped out of jail to the day she stepped back in, and prove that their were no phone calls in between Eric and Nanette. 

AGAIN IM GOING TO TRY TO SEND THIS TO ERIC'S LAWYERS, THE MCLAUGHLIN DAUGHTERS, THEIR LAWYER, THE JUDGE, AND ANYONE WHO CAN HELP ME SET THIS MAN FREE. IDK HOW I WOULD GO WITHOUT MY FATHER SO I CANT IMAGINE WHAT HIS CHILDREN ARE GOING THROUGH. ITS GOING TO RUIN THEIR LIVES IF THEY LOSE THEIR FATHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR LIVES DUE TO BEING FALSELY ACCUSED OF MURDER. HELP ME FREE THIS INNOCENT FATHER.

ATTHEBEACHNOW
ATTHEBEACHNOW

Sounds like this woman NO NO NANNETTE JOHNSTON spun her web too loose and now she is going to jail forever....she was a classic gatherer of lies deceit men and money. And shame on the police and detectives because they took an oath to protect the innocent and lost Eric Naposkis phone records...how convenient for them....the police and detectives are dishonable in their incompetance in this case.

nipnate
nipnate

@mapmaker --> How do you know he has neck tatts? and what is the relevance of your comment?

MapMaker
MapMaker

He's got those neck tatts covered up quite well.

Guest
Guest

What? The article clearly states that the defense attorneys lost the phone records, not the police.

asdf
asdf

Disonorable, of course, they aren't incompetent though,  they did it on purpose. 

Lissy.
Lissy.

In his booking photo you can see he has tattoos on his neck.

I imagine MapMaker's point was just about Naposki trying to look less like a stereotypical (fair or not) murderer.

MediaTruth
MediaTruth

The police never had the phone records....even if they had them anyone could have called..Nanette after she dropped him off. They also showed over and over again that this would not have mattered because the drive was made many times and he could have made it there no problem.

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