Judge denies request for film showing at Linehan trial

Anchorage Daily News October 5, 2007 

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - Jurors in the murder trial of Mechele Linehan will not view "The Last Seduction," a 1994 movie about a woman who kills her husband.

Judge Philip Volland said no Thursday to the prosecution's request. He said he watched the movie and didn't see enough similarities between its plot and the murder of Kent Leppink to justify entering it into evidence.

Linehan, who lives in Olympia, is two weeks into a trial in which she is charged with conspiring to kill Leppink for money. He was her fiance at the time.

Prosecutors argued that she was inspired by the film and plotted to kill Leppink after viewing it. Defense lawyers disagree.

"The state wants this movie because it fills enormous gaps in their case with regard to plan or motive," defense attorney Kevin Fitzgerald told Volland during a long legal wrangle Thursday.

Prosecutors say Linehan used her sexuality to manipulate men, just like the main character in "The Last Seduction." Volland said Linehan never even had sex with Leppink.

Volland also called the movie raunchy and said he hesitated to subject jurors to the embarrassment of viewing it. Because the movie is so disturbing, it probably would make an impression on them that would unfairly discriminate against Linehan, he said.

Linehan is charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors say she and another boyfriend, John Carlin III, plotted in May 1996 to murder Leppink, who had a $1 million life-insurance policy. They say Linehan thought she would get the money and that she made Carlin shoot Leppink for her. Carlin was convicted in April in a separate trial.

Linehan's lawyers say she had nothing to do with the murder and that Carlin acted alone.

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