Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Football Player and the Millionaire: Deadly Love Triangle

The Money Tree


Even though McLaughlin had died, Johnston continued to embezzle money by writing herself checks, according to court records. A survey of McLaughlin's credit card bills revealed that after his death Johnston purchased a watch and $600 alligator-skin boots for Naposki. Before the murder, she put a $700 down payment on a motorcycle trailer and three motorcycles, even though McLaughlin's car did not have a hitch to tow the trailer.

"There were no presents under the tree for McLaughlin because he would be dead by Christmas," Detective Byington said. "He's never ridden a motorcycle in his life and doesn't have a trailer hitch on his car. Those motorcycles weren't for him."

Johnston was contacted by the Los Angeles Times and denied having anything to do with the murder, saying she and McLaughlin's daughters had offered a $40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

"The police are all wet," she told the newspaper. Naposki "was with me when it happened...I stood to gain a lot more by being with Mr. McLaughlin than [from] an insurance policy."

She added that the police had no real facts because she didn't do anything.

Johnston received money from McLaughlin's life insurance and continued on with her life, discarding Naposki six months after the murder, just as she had done with all her other men.

"He had used up all his usefulness to her," Byington said.

Even though police didn't have enough evidence to charge anyone with the murder, they assembled a solid case of embezzlement against Johnston. She was charged the following year with 16 counts of forgery and grand theft. In 1996, she pleaded guilty to two counts and was sentenced to a year in jail, which was stayed, and five years probation. McLaughlin's daughters and the life insurance company sued her to recoup the money she had been paid. Johnston countersued, demanding palimony.

In the end, the case was settled.

We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'