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Mechele Linehan
Born October 12, 1972 (1972-10-12) (age 37)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Charge(s) First degree murder
Penalty 99 years in prison
Status Imprisoned
Spouse Colin Linehan
Children 1 daughter

Mechele Kaye Hughes (b. 12 October 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American convicted murderer, currently serving a 99 year prison sentence for her role in the death of her former fiancé, Kent Leppink. [1][2]

Contents

Early life and childhood

Her father, with the United States Air Force, moved the family often throughout her childhood. After her second divorce, her mother resettled the family near New Orleans, where she had relatives.

Linehan left home at age 16 and moved to New York City, where she hoped to work as a model. Instead, she worked at a Delicatessen in New Jersey that was owned by a man she was dating. [3]

Kent Leppink was a Michigan native who moved to Alaska to work as a fisherman. He met Linehan at a Striptease club called The Great Alaska Bush Company. On 2 May 1996, he was found dead in Hope, Alaska with three .44 caliber bullet wounds. Just days before his death, Leppink had removed Linehan from his $1 million life insurance policy, and sent a letter to his parents stating that, should he meet with foul play, Linehan, John Carlin, or Scott Hilke probably had something to do with it. Linehan married medical student Colin Linehan in 1998, and settled in Olympia, Washington. She earned a Master of Public Administration, and operated a laser clinic where Colin worked.

Trial

The prosecution alleged that Linehan followed the plot of The Last Seduction because she was "obsessed with the film." A former co-worker testified that Mechele told her that Linda Fiorentino's "character was her heroine and that she wanted to be just like her." [4] An insurance agent testified that Linehan tried to cancel the policy days before Leppink's death, then allegedly arranged for Carlin to murder him to collect on the policy. Carlin's son testified that his father had lied about not owning a .44 caliber Desert Eagle. Another witness also said that he sold a Desert Eagle in 1995, and left it at Carlin's house.

The defense argued that Leppink was an obsessive client who fabricated a romantic relationship with Linehan. Her friends and family stated that, given her history of volunteerism, such an act did not match her personality. [5] An ex-boyfriend of Linehan's, who painted a picture of Linehan as a gold-digger, was shown by the defense to be contradicting previous testimony made in 2006. [1][6][7]

Linehan's sister, Melissa Hughes, reportedly living in the Czech Republic at the time of the trial, was arrested as a material witness upon returning to the US. She spent one week in an Atlanta jail for her refusal to testify against her sister.

Carlin was convicted of murder in April 2007. On 22 October 2007, Linehan was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. On 2 April 2008, she was sentenced to 99 years, and transferred to Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River, Alaska. [8]

On the 8 March 2008 installment of 48 Hour Mystery, Linehan told Susan Spencer: “I just feel like there is nothing I can do to make people believe me or make people like me... Anybody else that knew me or worked with me didn’t feel that way. You tell me how a 22-year-old girl can make grown men do these things.” Carlin was found bludgeoned to death in his cell at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, Alaska on 27 October 2008. [9][10]

In October, 2007, Mechele Linehan was convicted of the 1996 murder of Kent Leppink, a notorious case in Anchorage, Alaska that reached national attention on March 8, 2008, through a special episode of the CBS documentary show, 48 Hours Mystery. On April 2, Linehan was given a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison. Backstory Linehan met Leppnik when she was working as a nude dancer at an establishment called the Great Alaskan Bush Company. She claimed that while she received gifts and money from Leppnik, she was never in a relationship with him, and insists he was an obsessive client who imagined a relationship. However, evidence presented during the trial included a letter from Linehan to Leppnik in which she suggested marriage.

Prosecutors convinced jurors that Linehan had convinced her ex-boyfriend John Carlin, with whom she was living at the time, to kill Leppink in order to receive the benefits from a million-dollar insurance policy, for which Linehan mistakenly believed herself to be the beneficiary.

Sentencing During the sentencing, a forensic psychologist testified that Linehan could not have committed the murder, and friends of Linehan's said that given her longtime vegetarianism and history of community involvement, they couldn't imagine that she would have committed such a crime.

The convictions had, however, been largely based on the testimony of Carlin's son, who said that he saw Linehan and Carlin washing a gun in the sink after the murder. [11]

In popular culture

On July 27, 2008, Linehan's case was profiled on Dateline NBC. An update aired on May 22, 2009. On January 29, 2009, Mechele Linehan's case was profiled on the Oxygen Network series Snapped. On June 6, 2009, Linehan's case was profiled as part of the E! network program "Fatal Beauty: 15 Most Notorious Women."

HarperCollins has released a book on June 30, 2009 entitled "Deadly Angel: The Bizarre True Story of Alaska's Killer Stripper."

References

  1. ^ a b Alex Tresniowski, Megan Holland, Vickie Bane, Champ Clark, Johnny Dodd (November 5, 2007). "Alaskan Temptress". People. p. 95.  
  2. ^ "Ex-stripper sentenced in plot to kill former fiance". CNN. April 3, 2008. http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/03/linehan.trial.ap/index.html. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  
  3. ^ Megan Holland (September 16, 2007). "Linehan: femme fatale or is she a PTA mom?". Anchorage Daily News. http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/stripper/story/117424.html. Retrieved 2008-09-14.  
  4. ^ "Ex-stripper accused in plot similar to the 1994 movie". AP via MSNBC. October 11, 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21230656/?GT1=10450. Retrieved 2007-10-31.  
  5. ^ Megan Holland (April 3, 2008). "Linehan sentenced to 99 years". Anchorage Daily News. http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/stripper/story/364106.html. Retrieved 2008-04-03.  
  6. ^ Angela Blanchard (October 3, 2007). "Ex-boyfriend testifies in Linehan trial". KTUU. http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=7166971&nav=menu510_2. Retrieved 2008-04-03.  
  7. ^ Jeremy Pawloski (October 23, 2007). "Linehan’s Olympia neighbors express sadness". The Olympian. http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/250987.html. Retrieved 2007-10-31.  
  8. ^ Megan Holland (April 30, 2008). "Linehan adds heavy hitters to legal team". Anchorage Daily News. http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/stripper/story/391155.html. Retrieved 2008-05-01.  
  9. ^ "Triggerman in notorious AK murder found dead". Associated Press. 2008-10-28. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008321465_webseductioncase28m.html. Retrieved 2008-10-28.  
  10. ^ "Prison inmate Carlin beaten to death, troopers say"
  11. ^ Mechele Linehan







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