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Mechele Linehan Set Free

Promptly Boards Flight to Seattle

January 17, 2012|By Ted Land, Jackie Bartz and Chris Klint | Channel 2 News
  • Mechele Linehan heads for the ticketing counter at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Tuesday, January 17th, 2012.
KTUU/Ted Land

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Mechele Linehan -- formerly a suspect in a high-profile 1996 murder -- is now a free woman, following a Tuesday hearing during which a judge removed court-ordered supervision measures which kept the 39 year old under close watch in Alaska.

Just a few hours after the hearing, Linehan, her husband Colin, and dog Maggie, boarded a flight bound for Washington State, where Linehan plans to stay unless a court calls her back.

She wore no ankle monitoring bracelet and her bail had been lifted.

Her friends and family say she's in good spirits, though Linehan is not yet in-the-clear.

"Big day," she told reporters as she walked into an Anchorage courtroom earlier in the day. 

State prosecutor Paul Miovas told the court that the state may still go after Linehan for conspiring to kill her former fiancé, Kent Leppink in 1996 for a million dollars in insurance money.

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“The state's not pursuing prosecution?” asked the judge.

 “I would say that is not an accurate statement,” responded Miovas, “There are some issues that the parties have been discussing at great length behind the scenes.”

Miovas says he's trying to track down a key witness, John Carlin IV, who prosecutors say watched his father and Linehan clean a handgun used to kill Leppink.

Miovas said that he agreed Linehan's bail should be exonerated.

The state has not yet presented Linehan’s case to a grand jury, so there will be no new indictment. After the hearing, however, Miovas said he hoped to re-present the case to the grand jury in a few weeks. 

Linehan quickly left the courtroom and had no comment herself on the hearing. Her attorney, Cynthia Strout, said Linehan felt a sense of relief about Tuesday's events and hoped to get on with her life.

"It's a huge amount of resources being spent on a case where we’re hoping that they realize they don’t have the evidence to proceed," she said.

A jury convicted Linehan of conspiracy in 2007, but the Alaska Court of Appeals overturned the verdict. The court ruled the jury should not have heard a letter Leppink wrote days before his death, in which he said to make sure Linehan was prosecuted if anything happened to him.

A murder indictment against Linehan was dismissed by Judge Philip Volland in December.

Email Ted Land and Jackie Bartz

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