Inside the Murder of a California Millionaire — at the Hands of His Girlfriend and an Ex-NFL Linebacker

Nanette Packard tells ABC News' Matt Gutman that the man she murdered "loved that I was a good mother"

Nanette Packard
Photo: ABC 20/20

The shocking 1994 murder of wealthy California businessman and inventor Bill McLaughlin remained unsolved for more than a decade, with detectives making little to no progress in their investigation until 2008, when a fresh set of eyes would come along, reviewing the evidence and conducting new interviews with several key witnesses.

On Dec. 15, 1994, McLaughlin, 55, was shot six times in the chest as he lounged in a robe in the kitchen of his Newport Beach home, where he lived with his son, his 29-year-old girlfriend, Nanette Packard, and her two children. In 2009, arrest warrants were drawn up for Packard and former NFL player Eric Naposki, whom authorities contend was Packard's lover.

Prosecutors said that the murder was committed as part of a plot to collect on McLaughlin's $1 million life insurance policy. However, Packard also wanted McLaughlin killed because she believed he was close to discovering she'd been stealing from and cheating on him.

Nanette Johnston
Leonard Ortiz/Orange County Register/AP

Friday night, on ABC News' 20/20, Packard — sentenced in 2012 to life behind bars — sits down with correspondent Matt Gutman for her first interview in two decades.

In Friday's episode, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT., Packard will discuss her relationship with McLaughlin, whom she met through a dating advertisement in the local paper. She also opens up about her affair with Naposki and her life in prison.

The program also features exclusive interviews with two of Packard's adult children, Lishele and Jaycie, who talk about their relationship with their mother as well as their memories of her arrest and conviction. (An exclusive clip from the episode is below.)

McLaughlin was killed soon after returning from a trip to Las Vegas in his private plane. His son with special needs heard the gunfire and hurried downstairs to find his dad in a pool of blood. He called 911 for help.

Ahead of the murder, authorities said Packard provided Naposki, who played parts of two seasons in the National Football League as a linebacker, with keys to the home.

Naposki was a member of the New England Patriots in 1988 and 1989 before playing his final season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Asked to describe the man she had killed in 1994, Packard, 56, said McLaughlin "had a really great personality," adding "he was super gregarious, friendly — well-spoken."

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Gutman also asks Packard about her relationship with McLaughlin.

"It's going to sound kind of cliché, but he was sort of a father figure," she explains. "He taught me about business. We sat and wrote business plans together. He included me. I did all the finances for everything. He also loved that I was a good mother."

Naposki, 28 at the time of the murder, was "fun," she offers. He, too, was sentenced to life for the murder.

"We used to work out at the gym," Packard says. "Then, we would hang out and there was just a fateful time when it turned into something more."

The two-hour 20/20 airs Friday at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT on ABC.

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