CONVICTION OVERTURNED AK - Kent Leppink, 36, murdered, Hope, 2 May 1996

Discussion in 'Recently Sentenced and Beyond' started by Alaska4959, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Alaska4959

    Alaska4959 No, I cannot see Russia from my house.

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    Looks like Mr. Carlin just reaped what he sowed...:rolleyes:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/385290_lastseduction29.html

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A spokesman for the Alaska Department of Corrections says John Carlin, the gunman in a notorious Alaska killing, has been found dead at the state prison in Seward. Corrections spokesman Richard Schmitz says Carlin was found dead under suspicious circumstances Monday night.

    Carlin was convicted of conspiring with Mechele Linehan, a former Anchorage stripper turned soccer mom, in the 1996 shooting death of Linehan's fiance, Kent Leppink.
    ----------
    Karma is a *****, ain't it
     
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  3. CaliKid

    CaliKid Former Member

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    What goes around comes around.
     
  4. PattyCake

    PattyCake Gypsy By Heart

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    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/573018.html

    I believe that this is what should happen to many people in jail. Especially child rapists and killers, but this guy? Sure whatever. Not a tear from me.

    beaten after a rerun of 48 hours? Humm did not know they saw those shows in jail. interesting.
     
  5. nancy botwin

    nancy botwin Verified Expert

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    I first saw this case profiled on 48 Hours and have continued to be somewhat fascinated by the events leading up to the 1996 murder of Kent Leppink, the trial itself, and the resultant convictions of Mechele Linehan and John Carlin in 2008.

    If you haven't followed the case and are interested, you can read the transcripts of the 48 Hours and Dateline episodes about the cases here:
    The Stripper & The Steel Worker on NBC's Dateline
    Love & Death in Alaska on CBS's 48 Hours.
    Watch the full 48 Hours broadcast here.

    Co-defendant John Carlin was killed in prison this fall and Mechele Linehan is currently appealing her conviction and 99 year sentence. You can read the Statement of Points on Appeal here.

    At trial, the prosecution depicted Linehan as a devious and sociopathic stripper who dated three men simultaneously, ultimately duping one paramour (Carlin) into murdering another (Leppink) for insurance money.

    [​IMG]
    The defense disputed this account and revealed that Mechele Linehan is now a model member of society, a PTA mom married to a military doctor. Much of the trial focused on the "two Mecheles," and Linehan's history as an exotic dancer. The defense maintained that the prosecution constructed a false narrative about Mechele and that the "real Mechele" is a dedicated mother and wife who had nothing to do with Leppink's murder.
    [​IMG]

    I'm still fascinated by this case because IMO there wasn't a lot of strong evidence conclusively linking Linehan to the murder. I tend to think too much of the trial focused on Linehan's personality, lifestyle and stereotypes about exotic dancers. After reading everything I could about the case, I tend to think Linehan is guilty. But sometimes I wonder if she was perhaps wrongfully convicted in a trial dominated by sensationalism and stereotyping.

    Linehan's husband and friends created a website which maintains her innocence and shares information about Mechele, the trial and the pending appeal. http://freemechele.blogspot.com/

    --
    Have others followed this case? Do you have an opinion about Linehan's guilt? I'm curious to know how other WS'ers see her-- she sits down for a lengthy interview in the 48 Hours episode I linked above.

    Do you believe her? Or know any other information about the case and the players?
     
  6. Blondie in Spokane

    Blondie in Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Hi, malcomthemiddle and welcome to Websleuths!

    I, too, have followed this case. Mechele is guilty as sin in my book! I agree with all of your points above and believe her to be the instigator. She seems to be very manipulative and used just about every man she came into contact with in some way or another. Also, her "sweet and innocent/poor, poor me" act just annoyed me to no end!

    She gives women a bad name, if you ask me!
     
  7. Texas Mist

    Texas Mist Retired WS Staff

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    Appeals court overturns Linehan conviction

    By Megan Holland | Anchorage Daily News • Published February 05, 2010

    The Alaska Court of Appeals has overturned the murder conviction of Mechele Linehan, the ex-stripper and Olympia resident accused of murdering a fiancé.

    The decision, handed down this morning, concluded it was improper for Superior Court Judge Philip Volland to allow evidence about the movie "The Last Seduction" and a letter written by Kent Leppink in the days before he died. The letter accused Linehan of the murder.


    http://www.theolympian.com/breakingnews/story/1127559.html
     
  8. malcomthemiddle

    malcomthemiddle New Member

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    wow! Cant say I am too surprised. I wish they didnt bring up that movie. It didnt make a difference.
    From what I have read from the juror interviews, they didnt care about her stripper past, or movies. After their first vote, (6 - guilty / 6 - undecided), they went for the emails. Not her movie collection.

    So, they refile the charges, arrest her, she bails out, and we do it again
     
  9. malcomthemiddle

    malcomthemiddle New Member

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    ok, she wont be released...
    ""Well there are essentially three options," Rosenstein said. "We could ask the Alaska Supreme Court to review the decision -- that's something they don't have to do, they have the discretion to do so, but they are not obligated to do that; or we could simply decide to proceed to retry Ms. Linehan; or we could decide to drop the case, which I really doubt that we'll do that."

    The state has 15 days to seek a review by the Supreme Court, Rosenstein said. If the state does not take it to the high court, the case will be returned to Superior Court where guidelines would be set for a retrial.

    http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=11940649

    "The state will be given a reasonable opportunity to review the case and decide whether in light of the court ruling they thought a retrial was warranted," Feldman said.

    Linehan remains incarcerated at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River. She would not be released until she is acquitted in a retrial or the state decides not to pursue a retrial."
     
  10. flourish

    flourish Well-Known Member

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    I have to admit that I'm actually shocked at the news! I did not really think they would overturn her conviction. I'm with the rest of ya--I don't care if she stripped or what movies she liked or didn't...the Hope note, the Seychelles email, the whole creepy manipulative man-harem, the insurance policy...it all just reads guilty guilty guilty.

    Oh, while I'm FINALLY able to rant about this (this thread has been s l o w) wth is with her and her family saying this stuff about "how could a 'girl' of 23 get grown men to do these things..." a 23-year old is not a "GIRL" for pete's sake!!!!! That's a woman and it's degrading to women to insist that a 23-year old woman is just a helpless little girl innocently grinding on men for money.

    Another rant: her voice. I know, I know, it's shallow of me, but go over to youtube and watch a video with Karla Homolka talking (preferably the "Fifth Estate" episode), then watch video of Mechele Linehan talking. Tell me that simpering baby-doll voice they both have doesn't have a sinister use...

    Okay, flourish, breathe!

    oh!! and what about Mechele's sister testifying (albeit unwillingly) about Mechele taking the computer to her and asking her to erase incriminating emails and the like?

    And more on the stripper thing....okay, I worked at stupid K Mart when I was 20. Now, let's just say (read: hypothetical) that while I worked at K Mart, I met some people at K Mart, conspired with one of them to kill another one of them, it all went down, but I wasn't caught. Years go by. Now, I'm a teacher. If I were to get arrested tomorrow for that conspiracy, I'd fully expect that in the news, I'd be referred to as "ex-K Mart checker turned killer gets arrested today" and probably even something worse, like, "Blue-light special on...murder?? More at eleven!" You probably wouldn't hear, "Local preschool teacher knows more than just her ABC's," even though it's funny, too. I sometimes wonder if Mechele and company have more of a problem with the fact that she used to be a stripper than most of the public does.

    Oh, and if a Master's degree really absolves a person of all previous sins, I'd better get a lot of sinning done before the end of this summer, cuz I'm graduating! Whoo hoo, Amnesty!

    As for my opinion as to whether or not they will try her again...I'm gonna go with yes they will. For a variety of reasons, some admirable, some not so much, but I'm guessing this is only the beginning...again...?

    All of the above is my opinion, based on all the information I've found and read about this case. I've tried to find court transcripts online but with no luck and I can't afford to pay Alaska for copies...did I mention I'm a teacher LOL? But every piece of actual information I can find leaves me to believe that she is guilty. It is possible that the trial was improper in some sense or something, obviously there is good reason to think it was, but that doesn't change whether or not she is actually guilty, and I still think she is.

    :twocents::twocents::twocents::twocents::twocents::twocents::twocents::twocents:
     
  11. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Well-Known Member

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    Wow! I am really shocked but also am surprised that prosecutors do these types of things that will get overturned...many times they do not even need to use these types of evidence, especially the bit about her so-called favorite movie from the other stripper. i am not sure i believed that bit. But the letter from KL to his parents was very strong and was surely a factor. I guess that one goes to the need to be able to confront your accuser...i wonder if Mark Benson will get an appeal for this same reason, his wife's note that she feared her husband was poisoning her was the biggest evidence in his case (and he is guilty for sure IMO but this may come back too...)
    These prosecutors have to try everything I guess...but the defense lawyers are just watching for errors the whole time, more than they are trying to prove lack of guilt, it seems...
    I still think Mechele will be convicted again eventually...
    the one thing i did not think was a big deal with the Sechelles e-mail...no one was going to have 10 million to buy citizenship...or whatever the amount was, it was way more than the insurance would have been worth...
     
  12. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Well-Known Member

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    i wonder how his death will affect a 2nd trial, which she has been awarded...
    and if this dead man's son won't or does not testify for some reason...it will be impossible to convict her again...i guess they can force him, but not sure they can make him repeat his testimony about seeing them cleaning a gun?
     
  13. mikeysmommom

    mikeysmommom "A grandchild fills a space in your heart that you

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    All prisons should only be able to have one channel and it should show only reruns of 48 hours.Now that would save law abiding citizens a lot of tax dollars.
     
  14. LadyBug99

    LadyBug99 New Member

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    I just came across The "Free Mechele" website and I must say that I'm disgusted. Do criminals really have websites like this to gain profit? Gross!

    So will Mechele be eligible for bond? How long will it take to get this to trial again? (if that's what they decide to do?)

    How can so many people honestly believe she had nothing to do with this???
     
  15. flourish

    flourish Well-Known Member

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    http://www.sitnews.us/0210news/022210/022210_linehan.html

    Quote from article:

    [SIZE=-1]["While the appeals court has reversed Linehan's conviction on the basis of two particular pieces of evidence being admitted during her trial, we are confident that there is sufficient evidence to support a second conviction," said Deputy Attorney General Rick Svobodny, head of the Criminal Division in the Department of Law.]

    I for one am pleased they are trying her again. Hopefully it will stick this time!

    And, yeah, the blog is almost sad. I mean, in a recent entry, one of Mechele's family members was complaining about how they couldn't just send her more envelopes when she runs out. Like, um...P R I S O N...it's not summer camp, you know.
    [/SIZE]
     
  16. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    I remember this case and recall thinking she's definately guilty. Might read a bit now though to refresh my memory. Thanks for the thread!

    ETA: Ok, I've reread the 48 hours transcript etc. and yeah, I still think she's guilty.
     
  17. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Well-Known Member

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    i wonder if the triggerman being killed in prison will affect 2nd trial and how? how much can they bring up about him I wonder? maybe since he is dead they can talk about his conviction. a weird weird case. I guess her family and friends have to believe in her, the same way Darly Routier's etc etc etc all have to do the same...if people won't ever confess, then their families must have to convince themselves that they are innocent...i just am glad i am not in that club...
     
  18. flourish

    flourish Well-Known Member

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    Disclaimer: My inclusion of links doesn't mean I've judged those site to be impartial or anything, I'm just letting you know they exist. FWIW.

    Find more information here:

    MSNBC article
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25876168/ns/dateline_nbc-crime_reports//

    Anhorage Daily News' website:
    http://www.adn.com/linehan/

    Basic story goes something like this, from the best of my memory from reading/watching everything available to me regarding this case:

    So, early 90's, Mechele Hughes of Louisiana, in her late teens, moves away from home and eventually lands in Alaska. Gets a job dancing at the...wait for it....Great Alaskan Bush Company strip club. By all accounts she's beautiful, charming, knows how to work it, and makes lots of money. At some point, while working there, she meets three guys, customers, whom she spends time with outside of the club. These men don't know each other previous to this...they all end up meeting each other through her.

    The men are:

    • John Carlin III, a widower who lives with his teenage son, John Carlin IV

    • Scott Hilke: I want to say he was some sort of salesman...not sure, but he traveled for work it seems.
    • Kent Leppink, nickname of "TT": former taxidermist turned fisherman; from most accounts had somewhat of a troubled past.

    So it's all kind of squirrely here, but it seems like she was basically stringing them all along, because by most accounts, all three men asked her to marry them, and she said yes to all of them. I have no idea how she knew which engagement rings to wear when...sounds very confusing. Her and Kent get life insurance policies and name each other as beneficiaries. This was accounted for as some sort of beginning business or something, I'm not sure because I don't think that's ever really been explained. Anyway, making it even more confusing is their living arrangements--she and Kent lived in her house, but then she was getting home repairs done, so she and Kent moved in with the John Carlins. Sounds like Scott was around a lot, staying there, but I'm not sure if he was a permanent resident.

    So life goes on...Mechele, Kent, Scott, John Carlin III, and the teenage John Carlin IV...all living together...Kent is in love with Mechele, Scott is in love with Mechele, John Carlin III is in love with Mechele, I'm pretty dang sure that Mechele is in love with Mechele. Heck, a teenage boy living with a stripper...John Carlin IV was probably in love with her, too (my own conjecture).

    Who was Mechele in love with (besides herself)?
    Good question.

    So, it's Spring of 1996. It appears Kent is all excited about getting married and his dad visits him in Alaska. Kent's made all these plans to hang out with his dad and his fiance. But Mechele is AWOL. Wth? She knows his dad's coming...where'd she go? She remains AWOL while his dad is there, and dad leaves wondering what the deal is with his supposed future daughter-in-law. Kent finds a piece of paper. It's a note! The top half of the note is a print-out of an email or fax or something. It is from John Carlin III telling Mechele that her new cabin outside of Hope, Alaska is ready, he's so glad he bought it for her, and he hopes she [and Scott] have a great little getaway for the weekend. The bottom half of the note is a handwritten response from Mechele thanking him and reminding him not to tell anyone where she is.

    See the note here:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25877809/

    Kent's parents get a letter from Kent. It may or may not have also included Mechele's passport and/or ID, which may or may not have been stolen by Kent. For sure, there was a letter inside the letter. Kent wrote that if he was found dead in the near future, open the other letter.

    A few days later, Kent is found dead. Shot three times. Guess where he was? Outside Hope, Alaska! Where was Mechele? Not in a cabin outside Hope, Alaska, but in Lake Tahoe with Scott! Hmm...so who was at the cabin outside Hope, Alaska? Nobody! There was no cabin outside Hope, Alaska! That's right, no cabin. Interesting.

    Mechele says Kent wasn't really engaged to her, but it was a ruse because he was gay or bisexual or something. However, she also says that he was obsessed with her. So obsessed with her that she thought he was going to follow her to Lake Tahoe, and that's why it was necessary to write the note about the fake cabin.

    Kent's parents open the other letter, and it basically says if I'm dead look at Scott, John III, or Mechele, and take her down.

    Read parts of that letter here:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25877834/
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25877835/
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25877836/
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25877833/


    The cops have their suspicions, but can't pin anything on anybody. Mechele and John Carlin IV load up her motorhome and head on down to Louisiana. Why her and the teenager? I have no idea. John Carlin III sells his house and comes soon after, and it sounds like the John Carlins go to...New Jersey (?) and Mechele goes to college and marries an army doctor, whom she's still married to today and they have a daughter. Oh, and at her trial it came out that she and her daughter flew to see Scott while her husband was in Iraq. Mechele and army doctor and daughter settle in Olympia, Washington, where they buy an old house and are happy.

    Years go by. Alaska gets a new cold case team. They realize that John Carlin IV is an adult now and his father can't keep the cops from talking to him any more. So they interview him and he says he remembers seeing his dad and Mechele standing over the bathroom sink which contained a gun and clear liquid, which smelled like bleach. They can't find the gun, but they are able to track down the guy who sold John Carlin III the gun (!) through the newspaper ad he'd taken out to sell the gun in the first place.

    There's also a laptop, which, IMHO says A LOT about this case. Kent had a laptop, which Mechele shipped to her sister soon after the murder. She asked her sister to erase everything off of the computer. Apparantly, on the way from Alaska to Louisiana with John Carlin IV, Mechele stopped to see her sister in Utah. Her sister told her she had not erased everything off of the computer, and Mechele was quite displeased. While the sister testified at Carlin's trial, she hid in Europe during Mechele's trial. Read more about the laptop here, in an Anchorage Daily News article:

    http://www.adn.com/2007/03/24/117435/stripper-asked-sister-to-wipe.html

    John Carlin III and Mechele get arrested and tried. He is found guilty and sent to prison. She is found guilty and sent to prison. He is found dead in his cell. Beaten to death, apparently. Mechele, as we all know, recently won an appeal, and will be getting a retrial.

    Mechele's friends and family have a blog about her and the quest to get her out of prison. For more interesting (imho) reading, here's an old email from Mechele to her mom:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25877752/



    I'm done for now. If only I spent as much time on my schoolwork :blushing: :angel:
     
  19. flourish

    flourish Well-Known Member

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    In an email from John Carlin III to Mechele, Carlin says, with my punctuation added for clarity, "You (Mechele) say, 'I don't know what to say or do! I just feel bad! I feel like trying to be happy with you was being selfish. Like you (John) said, 'A mark I got close to.' "

    A mark she got close to.

    I'd like someone else's take on all this, because I keep typing things and it ends up sounding so mean and snarky.

    Beginning of paragraph 3:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25877695/
     
  20. cluciano63

    cluciano63 Well-Known Member

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    i agree that she is most likely guilty of setting this whole thing up...but why so much on e-mail and in writing? i will never get over how "smart" people commit stupid crimes, over and over again...of course not quite as much was known about computers at the time, maybe they thought hitting delete really deleted things, but it was not that long ago. and it still keep happening, even more with cell phones, with criminals leaving a trail...good thing for LE that they are so stupid and can't stay off of phones and computers or a lot of murders would probably go unsolved...
     
  21. txsvicki

    txsvicki Active Member

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    I remember watching 48 hrs. and Kent also had the change of beneficiary card in his pocket when found deceased. He'd changed it over to his parents. During the show at times I almost suspected Kent of having himself killed somehow, his parents since he'd embezzled from them in the past, and the teenager because Michelle was probably manipulating him along with the rest. But, lies about the homosexuality of Kent and the Hope note in her writing, pretty much convinced me, but without the insurance policy those weren't very much evidence against her IMO. I don't understand why she strung Kent along so much with on and off marriage plans though. Michelle's voice also annoyed me and the stony look on her face when found guilty. Her husband was crushed and trying to reach out for her and she almost seemed to recoil from him until she was led out and allowed to give him a hug.
     

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