The downtown Anchorage courtroom was packed, with overflow into the hallway, as prosecutor Pat Gullufsen tied together the state's case saying there is sufficient circumstantial evidence showing Linehan used John Carlin to kill Kent Leppink in May 1996.
"This person manipulated the circumstances with her guile, with deception, and she created a situation where Kent Leppink's life was worth nothing to her. His death was worth a lot to her," he said, referring to a $1 million life-insurance policy.
Defense attorney Kevin Fitzgerald countered by trying to poke holes in the state's case, saying it is based on conjecture, speculation, suspicion and gossip. Nowhere has the state proved that Linehan wanted Leppink dead or that she helped in killing him, he said.
Carlin, 50, was convicted of shooting Leppink in April. He and Linehan were charged with first-degree murder in the decade-old crime a year ago. Investigators say that even though Linehan was out of the state, she aided and abetted in killing the 36-year-old fisherman.
In the courtroom
On Wednesday, family and supporters of the Leppink and Linehan families crowded into the 50-person court gallery with lawyers, media and other observers.
Without any hard evidence
without the murder weapon, fingerprints, DNA or witnesses
the prosecution and defense spent most of their time in front of jurors offering interpretations of the circumstantial evidence. Fitzgerald argued that much of the state's case has been a witch hunt and admitted his client did not display the best behavior as a young woman.
"To some extent as we make our way through life, yeah, we make mistakes. There are things that I said and did back at 23 that I'm sure if you put them under the glare of light I wouldn't be happy about either. And I'm sure every one of you can say the same thing. And, you know what? It's legally irrelevant."
Fitzgerald also admitted his client led Leppink to believe there was more to their relationship.
"Mrs. Linehan. Not honest. Let's own it. Not honest at all. Not honest in relationships. At all. But that doesn't make her a killer," he said.
"But Mr. Leppink was also very self-delusional about where that relationship was and where it was going," he said.
Gullufsen told jurors that the plan to murder Leppink was well-thought-out by an intelligent woman. To make it clear his death was not a suicide, he was shot three times and his body was left in a place where it would be found
because no one could collect the life insurance if Leppink had committed suicide.
Linehan's lawyers have said Carlin acted alone because he wanted Linehan for himself and because Leppink allegedly made sexual advances toward his son. On Wednesday, Fitzgerald expanded that theory to include that Carlin didn't care for Leppink and that he was getting in the way of his time with Linehan. Carlin blamed Leppink for Linehan's frequent travels away from the South Anchorage home they all shared, and driving her into the arms of her former fiance, Scott Hilke.
Fitzgerald ended his closing with an emotional appeal to the jury to send his client home.
"We ask that you return Mrs. Linehan to Olympia. We ask that you return her to her family and her friends and to her husband and to her daughter."