Ex-NFL Linebacker Convicted of Murder in Calif.

A jury on Thursday found a former NFL linebacker guilty of killing a Southern California millionaire nearly 17 years ago.

Orange County jurors found Eric Naposki guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of William McLaughlin in his Newport Beach home in 1994. The panel also found true a special circumstance allegation that Naposki committed the murder for financial gain and that he personally discharged a firearm.

Naposki, wearing a pink shirt and tie, shook his head as jurors read the verdict. As he was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs, he mouthed `I love you' to his fiancee, who was crying.

Several jurors stayed after the verdict to speak with the victim's family but declined to discuss the case with reporters.

Sentencing for the former New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts linebacker is scheduled for Oct. 21.

Authorities said Naposki was romantically involved with McLaughlin's girlfriend, Nanette Johnson Packard, who stood to collect $1 million in life insurance from McLaughlin's death. She also is charged with murder and her trial is scheduled for later this year.

Prosecutors said Naposki was given a key to McLaughlin's home by Packard and shot him six times. After the shooting, Naposki heading to his job at a nearby bar where he was a bouncer, prosecutors said.

Defense attorneys argued that Naposki had an alibi and that Packard was the only one who had the motive, means and opportunity to kill McLaughlin.

Packard also was accused of writing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of checks drawn from his accounts. Packard pleaded guilty in 1996 to stealing nearly $500,000 from McLaughlin before and after his death. She was sentenced to one year in jail for that crime.

McLaughlin made his fortune as the founder of a company that developed a device that separates plasma from blood.