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Monday
Jan232012

Woman Convicted in Millionaire’s Love Triangle Murder

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Nanette Johnston was found guilty Monday on charges that she plotted to have her lover kill her far older, millionaire fiancé so she could collect on an insurance policy and other assets.

On Dec. 15, 1994, Bill McLaughlin, a 55-year-old inventor and pharmaceutical mogul, was shot six times by an intruder in his Newport Beach, Calif., home, inside a wealthy, gated community. He was living with Johnston, then an attractive 25-year-old he’d met after he answered her ad in a dating magazine.

No arrests were made at the time, but 15 years later prosecutors re-examined the evidence.

They charged Johnston, now 43, and her lover, Eric Naposki, a former NFL linebacker, with murder. The prosecutor alleged she put Naposki up to the crime so they could make millions off McLaughlin’s death.

Johnston, at the time, stood to benefit from a $1 million life insurance policy, $150,000 from McLaughlin’s will and access to his beach house.

The defense said Johnston had a solid alibi and that Naposki acted alone, out of jealousy; Naposki was convicted of first-degree murder last year.

He was scheduled to be sentenced last Friday but the judge agreed to a request by Naposki’s lawyers to delay the sentencing until May.  He could face life in prison without parole.

The jury took just five days to make their decision in Johnston’s case after hearing closing arguments last Thursday.

“[The prosecutor's] pinnacle evidence of this case, saying my client was involved, is horse manure,” said Johnston’s defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Mick Hill.

The defense acknowledged Johnston’s affair with Naposki, but argued Johnston was an intelligent woman who would never leave her wealthy fiance.

“Hate her as much as you want for being a liar, a cheater and a thief, but you can’t hold her guilty based on that,” Hill argued.

But Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy argued otherwise. “You just listened to two hours of crap in an Irish accent,” he said after Hill, who was born and raised in Ireland, finished his closing arguments.

“Anyone who commits murder like this is clever, diabolical, evil,” Murphy said, at another point calling Johnston “a con artist and rip-off queen.”

The prosecution said Johnston planned the murder, giving Naposki the key he used to enter McLaughlin’s home.

And, they said, Johnston pleaded guilty to stealing half a million dollars from McLaughlin before and after the murder.

“Bill McLaughlin is worth a thousand times more to her dead than he is alive,” said Murphy. “She would become the trustee and has the money. She becomes the golden goose.”

Johnston and Naposki will be sentenced on May 18.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio