Linehan cancels request for medical leave

BAIL SCARE: Woman awaiting murder retrial can't leave state.

August 26, 2011 

Mechele Linehan on Friday withdrew a request to leave the state for medical treatment after a bail scare that could have sent her back to jail.

Linehan, 38, is awaiting retrial for the 1996 murder of Kent Leppink and has been out of prison on bail since May of last year. She'd asked a Superior Court judge for permission to leave Alaska for treatment on her knee, her bail bondsman said. But at a hearing Thursday, Linehan's lawyer was greeted with a surprise that ultimately torpedoed that request.

Anchorage strip club and hotel owner Terry Stahlman, who had put up his property as collateral for Linehan's $250,000 bail, wrote a letter this week saying he "could no longer be responsible" for the bond.

As of Thursday, it was unclear if Linehan would have to return to custody.

On the back of his letter to bail bondsman Fred Akderson, Stahlman wrote a more personal, hand-written note. Stahlman has "been very sick" over the past year, he wrote, but offered to give Linehan time to find another way to meet her bail obligations.

"I want to give Mrs. Linehan, you, her legions of supporters, friends thirty days to replace me. I don't want to hurt anybody with this action," Stahlman wrote in jagged penmanship that he attributed to pain in his shoulders.

But by Friday, the problem had apparently been solved.

Members of Linehan's family or her husband's family agreed to cover a portion of the bail by putting money into a trust account, Adkerson said.

"They came up with some cash to back it up," he said. Adkerson wouldn't name the amount.

Adkerson had a condition, however. While he said he doesn't consider Linehan a flight risk, he did not want her to leave the state.

"There's plenty of doctors up here," said Adkerson, who said Linehan's medical condition is related to her knee.

Linehan's lawyer, Cynthia Strout, subsequently withdrew the request for Linehan to leave the state at a brief bail hearing before Judge Philip Volland.

Linehan remains free, under electronic monitoring, as she awaits retrial, according to Adkerson.

Linehan was accused in 2006 of conspiring to kill Leppink. Prosecutors said the then-23-year-old Bush Company dancer manipulated the 36-year-old commercial fishermen into a marriage engagement and had him killed for a life insurance policy payout.

The Alaska Court of Appeals in February 2010 ruled that Linehan didn't get a fair trail and threw out her 2007 conviction. A second trial is scheduled for April in Anchorage, according to court records.


Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334. Twitter updates: twitter.com/adn_kylehopkins.