No New Trial for Mechele Linehan
But in Alaska, there's no statute of limitation on murder
ANCHORAGE - It’s been over fifteen years since Mechele Linehan's former fiancé Kent Leppink was murdered.
And for almost a decade it appeared his killer would never be found... then prosecutors filed charges against Linehan and another man she was involved with John Carlin.
Both Linehan and Carlin were convicted in 2007 for killing Leppink.
But just two and a half years later Linehan's conviction was overturned by the Alaska Court of Appeals.
“At the first trial the court admitted several pieces of evidence that the Court of Appeals ruled should not have been used at the trial, and that’s why the Court of Appeals reversed her conviction,” said Cynthia Strout, Linehan’s attorney.
A judge ruled that a letter written by Leppink before his death to his parents saying if he died Linehan and Carlin were responsible should not have been shown to the jury.
Now, eight months later, the state says, without the letter, and no new evidence, it does have enough to retry Linehan.
“A lot of the witnesses that testified at both Mr. Carlin and Linehan’s trial are no longer alive. Unfortunately the deceased witnesses would not be able to testify at a second trial if that were to occur, [and that] made a big impact on the decision that we made,” said Paul Miovas, a prosecutor for the State of Alaska.
Linehan's attorney, Cynthia Strout, said it's news Mechele has been waiting to hear for five years.
“It’s a huge relief, her life has been tied up with this four more than five years, she spent two and a half years in jail on an indictment that was flawed form the very beginning, so obviously it's a huge relief to now be done with this.”
But Linehan isn't off the hook for good, the state says there is not statute of limitations for murder in the State of Alaska.
“if new evidence comes to light than we would analyze that and take whatever action would be appropriate but this would not exclude any evidence that would come up in the future,” prosecutor Miovas said.