The state of Alaska has decided not to pursue a second indictment against Mechele Linehan, who was accused of murdering Kent Leppink in 1996.
Linehan was found guilty of killing Leppink in 2007. However, her conviction was overturned in 2010. The state tried to try her again, but in December, 2011, a Superior Court Judge overturned the initial Grand Jury indictment. Until today, the state had been mum on whether it was going to indict her yet again.
“Following Judge Volland’s decision and a thorough review of the state’s remaining evidence, the Office of Special Prosecutions has decided that further prosecution of Ms. Linehan would not be prudent at this time,” the state of Alaska Department of Law said in a press release.
Leppink, the victim, was 36 years old when he died. He was found shot to death in Hope, a small community 88 highway miles south of Anchorage, in 1996.
Linehan and Linehan's other fiancé, John Carlin, were arrested on murder charges in 2006. Both were convicted in separate trials in Anchorage, and both were sentenced to 99 years in prison. Carlin was beaten to death while in prison in 2008.
That killing was another tragic twist in a story that captured the country's attention, in part because of Linehan was a former stripper, and because of the new life she created for herself after she left Alaska. She ended up in Washington state, seemingly happily married to a doctor. She had children, baked cookies for her church, and even earned a master's degree in public administration.