Entries in Murder Plot (4)


Mom Mails Knife to Kids for Murder Plot, Cops Allege

WCTI/ABC News(GREENVILLE, N.C.) -- A Florida woman is being held on $5 million bond for allegedly mailing a knife to her two young children and telling them to kill their grandparents, police said.

Leticia Silva, 31, of Lakeland, Fla., is charged with four counts of solicitation to commit murder. Her children, daughters age 7 and 9, have been living with their grandparents in Greenville, N.C., for seven years.  The grandparents have permanent custody of the girls, police said.

Silva “contacted her children and asked them to kill their grandparents,” according to a statement by the Pitt County Sheriff’s office.  Greenville is located in Pitt County.

“The children revealed that Silva had mailed a knife to be used as the weapon to commit this crime,” the sheriff’s statement said.


The knife and the message were sent to the girls in December 2012, police said. The grandparents found the knife under the pillow of one of the girls in February, according to the statement. The police said they began their investigation on Feb. 4.

Officials said the grandparents spoke to the children about finding the knife and were told that they “love their grandparents very much” and couldn’t carry out the murder.

Silva turned herself in to Pitt County authorities on Monday and was held on $5 million bond. She recently requested a reduction in bail, telling the judge, “Your honor,  I need… my family is here from Florida. I turned myself in. I need to see if I can get a bond reduction.”

The judge refused to lower Silva’s bail.

Silva’s boyfriend reportedly has said that he believes the charges are a result of a “misunderstanding” and that the children’s grandparents are “making this all up.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Thief or Killer? Closing Arguments Heard in Nanette Johnston Trial

Hemera/Thinkstock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- The jury heard closing arguments Thursday in the trial of Nanette Johnston, who's accused of plotting to have her lover kill her far older, millionaire fiance nearly two decades ago so she could collect on an insurance policy and other assets.

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

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

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

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. He was living with Johnston, then a 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 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 would 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 could get life in prison without parole when he is sentenced on Friday.

The defense acknowledged the affair but argued Johnston was a smart 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 said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman on Trial in 1993 Killing of Older Millionaire Boyfriend

Hemera/Thinkstock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- Jury selection is underway in the trial of Nanette Johnston, who is accused of plotting to have her lover kill her far older, millionaire fiancé nearly two decades ago so she could collect on an insurance policy and other assets.

Johnston, 25, was the live-in girlfriend of inventor William McLaughlin, 55, of Newport Beach, in a wealthy, gated community in California.

Johnston, a mother of two, met McLaughlin after he responded to an ad she placed in a dating magazine for wealthy men.  Billing herself as a classy and, “well-educated woman who knows how to take care of her man,” she caught his attention. They developed a relationship and she moved in with him.

The pharmaceutical mogul was killed on the night of Dec. 15, 1993, by an intruder who shot him six times in the chest inside his home.

At the time, Johnston was away from the house at her son’s soccer game, but prosecutors believe she gave her lover -- former NFL linebacker Eric Naproski -- a key to the house so he could enter and commit the killing, according to a report in the Orange County Register.

Police weren’t able to bring a case because they lacked evidence, but they reopened the investigation in 2009, re-interviewing witnesses and re-examining evidence. They then charged Johnston, now 46, with putting Naproski up to the killing.

She has denied the allegations, and her attorney said she would never have left her wealthy fiancé, adding that Naproski acted alone out of jealousy.

But prosecutors say Johnston had everything to gain, including a $1 million life insurance policy, $150,000 from McLaughlin’s will, and access to his beach house.

The woman had already been in trouble with the law before regarding McLaughlin’s finances. According to ABC News affiliate KABC-TV in Los Angeles, Johnston -- who is also known as Nanette Packard -- was charged with grand theft in 1995 for allegedly stealing about $500,000 from McLaughlin’s account before and after his murder.  She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail.

Naproski was convicted last year of McLaughlin’s first-degree murder. He could get life in prison without parole when he is sentenced on Jan. 20.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Stands by Husband Accused of Plotting Her Murder

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HOUSTON) -- A Houston woman, who has survived three attempts on her life, is now standing by her husband, who's been indicted in the alleged crime.

Jeffrey Stern's 38-year-old mistress, Michelle Cabrera Gaiser, was arrested and charged with plotting to kill his wife. Four other people were also arrested for their involvement in the crime.

After her husband's arrest, Yvonne Stern filed for divorce, citing adultery by her 53-year-old husband. But just months later, she changed her mind and the couple reconciled.

Jeffrey Stern's lawyer, Paul Nugent, told reporters that his client apologized to his family for the affair.

"The only thing Jeff is guilty of is having had a marital transgression," said Nugent. "Let me be perfectly clear, Jeff Stern is innocent of these charges."

The first attempt to kill Yvonne Stern was a drive-by shooting at their home in February 2010. Two months later, in April, someone rang the doorbell and when Yvonne Stern came to the door, a man shot at her through the glass. 

According to Nugent, Jeffrey Stern took precautions to fortify his house and protect his family, hiring a retired police officer to advise him. The family then moved to an apartment for safety.

But a gunman tracked Yvonne Stern down there as well. In May 2010, Stern was sitting in the driver's seat of her car in the parking garage at their apartment. A man approached her window with a gun leveled at her head. She begged and pleaded through the window. The gunman had a change of heart and lowered the gun from her head and shot her in the stomach. She slumped over, played dead, and then, bleeding, drove herself to the nearest gas station for help, according to her lawyer, Chip Lewis.

So why would Mrs. Stern stand by her husband, who is one of five people charged in the conspiracy?

"She is without a doubt convinced that he got involved with a woman who, for whatever reasons, through whatever grandeur delusions, psychosis, whatever it may be, believed that she needed to get rid of Mrs. Stern. And that is where the prosecutor and Mrs. Stern differ...she doesn't believe he had anything to do with planning the attempts on her life," said Lewis.

Mr. Stern is free on one million dollars bond. If convicted, he faces five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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