Mechele Linehan is a free woman for now. The stripper turned soccer mom was convicted of murder, then had that conviction overturned. And now the indictment has been tossed out. But just because Linehan is headed home doesn't mean the case is necessarily over. It's far from over because the state is analyzing evidence and waiting on a key witness to determine if it should re-indict Linehan for Kent Leppink's murder.
For Mechele Linehan, this court appearance was quick and easy. “I believe that bail should be exonerated,” said state prosecutor Paul Miovas. “That Mrs. Linehan should be free from any bail conditions at this point.” The ball is now in the state's court as prosecutors try to figure out if they should try to re indict her for the 1996 murder of her former fiancé Kent Leppink. There has been some discussion behind the scenes but the state says in order to move forward it needs a key witness. “There is an essential witness right now, John Carlin IV, who there is an issue regarding whether he will be a viable witness and we may need the court to intervene,” said Miovas.
Carlin’s father, John Carlin III was convicted of carrying out the murder of Leppink. During Linehan's trial in 2007 the younger Carlin testified that he had seen Linehan and his dad try to clean a gun that police say was used to kill Leppink. Carlin hired a lawyer a few weeks ago and the state wants to consult with that attorney before moving forward.
“You can't just subpoena somebody if they are represented by counsel I can't just completely cut his attorney out,” said Miovas. As things continue to change, Linehan's lawyer says her client's life is in limbo. “Four different judges now have said that the evidence that was used to indict her and convict her at trial initially was unfair and prejudicial,” said Cynthia Strout. And while Linehan didn't say much in court, her mother posted the statement "fly home my little freebird" on her Facebook page.
But whether Linehan is back in an Alaska courtroom is now up to the state. Linehan's lawyer says Mechele and her husband are already headed home to Washington to see her child. In the meantime prosecutors say they will make a decision on whether they will re indict her within the next few weeks.