Mechele Linehan, a onetime stripper convicted of murdering an Alaska fisherman for a $1 million life insurance payout, was sentenced to 99 years in prison this afternoon.
•What: Special about Mechele Linehan, who was convicted in connection with the shooting death of a former fiance
•When: 9 p.m. Saturday
•Where: CBS, Channel 7
•Online: To view a preview of the special, click the link with this story at www.theolympian.com.
1994: Mechele Hughes moves to Alaska, gets job as an exotic dancer at Great Alaskan Bush Company. Meets Kent Leppink
April 1996: Leppink sends letter to parents saying if he dies its because of Hughes and/or Scott Hilke or John Carlin, two other fiances
May 2, 1996: Leppink killed in Hope, Alaska
1997: Hughes meets Colin Linehan at a park in New Orleans
1998: Hughes and Linehan marry
April 2005: Mechele Linehan works for Washington state Executive Ethics Board
Oct. 4, 2006: Linehan arrested for first-degree murder in Leppinks death
Oct. 13, 2006: Linehan pleads not guilty
April 2007: Carlin convicted of first-degree murder in Leppinks death
Sept. 19: Linehans trial begins
Oct. 10: Linehan's husband, Colin, of Olympia testifes that his wife is not guilty
Oct. 22: Linehan convicted
Nov. 9: Carlin to be sentenced
March 8, 2008: "48 Hours Mystery" features two-hour special on Linehan's case
March 28: Testimony is taken at Linehan's sentencing, which is delayed until April 2
April 2: Linehan is sentenced to 99 years in prison
Read more about Mechele Linehan's trial:
• Linehan catches network attention (Oct. 22, 2007)
• Convicted killer describes events outlined at trial (Oct. 22, 2007)
• Day of judgment looms for Linehan (Oct. 18, 2007)
• Defense rests case; Linehan won't testify (Oct. 15, 2007)
• Husband defends Linehan as hard-working, generous innocent (Oct. 12, 2007)
• Attorneys in murder case dissect Linehan e-mails (Oct. 11, 2007)
• Leppink sent letter to parents predicting his own murder (Oct. 9, 2007)
• Judge denies request for film showing at Linehan trial (Oct. 5, 2007)
• Linehan acquaintance told different story in '06 (Oct. 4, 2007)
• Killer's son offers details at Linehan trial (Oct. 2, 2007)
• Prosecutors contend Linehan based crime on film (Sept. 28, 2007)
• Linehan's life, friends become focus of former fiance's testimony (Sept. 27, 2007)
• Witness says Linehan tried to get refund on insurance (Sept. 25, 2007)
• Killer acted solo, Linehan defense says (Sept. 21, 2007)
• Linehan jury selection a lesson in Alaska law (Sept. 19, 2007)
• Jury selection under way as Linehan friends defend character (Sept. 18, 2007)
• Alaska time defined by competing love interests (Sept. 16, 2007)
• Acquaintances stunned by court case (Sept. 16, 2007)
• Linehan's 'exotic' past to be part of testimony (Sept. 13, 2007)
• No delay for murder trial of Olympia woman (Sept. 7, 2007)
• Problems could delay murder trial (Sept. 6, 2007)
• Jury convicts man tied to Olympia woman (April 4, 2007)
• Linehan accused of seeking to wipe laptop after death of fiance (March 25, 2007)
• Ex-boyfriend testifies that Linehan 'buffaloed' several men (March 22, 2007)
• Former fiance testifies in Linehan case (March 21, 2007)
• Alaskan slaying suspect at home (Oct. 25, 2006)
• Judge reduces bail for Linehan (Oct. 21. 2006)
• Linehan in jail after bail review (Oct. 17, 2006)
• Olympia woman accused of Alaska murder pleads not guilty (Oct. 14, 2006)
• Olympia woman extradited to Alaska (Oct. 13, 2006)
• Former exotic dancer held in 1996 slaying (Oct. 5, 2006)
• More from the Anchorage Daily News
In imposing the maximum sentence possible, state Superior Court Judge Philip Volland called the 1996 murder of fisherman Kent Leppink a "heinous crime."There are two Linehans, one that people are clearly charmed by and the other that is manipulative and greedy, Volland said. The murder of Leppink by his friend and fiancee, two people with whom Leppink could expect a trusting relationship, "elevates this crime to the worst case of first-degree murder."
Linehan, now 35, was convicted in October of the 1996 crime. It was a murder case that languished with the Alaska State Troopers for a decade before Linehan and a former boyfriend, John Carlin III, were arrested in 2006. Prosecutors say she conspired with Carlin to dupe victim Kent Leppink into believing she loved him, took out a life insurance policy on him and then had Carlin kill him.
Carlin was sentenced in January to 99 years for allegedly firing the handgun that killed Leppink.
Both Linehan and Carlin say they are innocent.
Linehan pleaded with Volland for leniency in his sentence. Her lawyers asked for a sentence of just five years.
She said she does not "fit the narrative, nor have I ever fit the narrative of the prosecution."
More than a decade ago she worked as a dancer at the Great Alaskan Bush Co. and made "poor choices." She met Leppink and Carlin there.
"I beg you from the bottom of my heart to allow me to go back to my family," Linehan told Volland.
Linehan says Leppink was a client of hers at the Bush Company whom she befriended. He became obsessed with her, though, and fabricated a relationship in his head. He lied to his friends and family about them, she says. She says it was his idea to take out the life insurance but both of them tried to cancel it days before his death.
She says she doesn't know who killed Leppink.
At the time of his death, Leppink was financially broke, obsessed with Linehan and had lost a considerable amount of weight, his family has said.
In the end, Leppink changed the beneficiary of his life insurance policy to his family, to whom he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars. They got the money.
At Carlin's sentencing, he said he wondered if Leppink didn't orchestrate his own murder, then blame the people around him whom he wanted to punish. Carlin questioned whether it was a last act of revenge against the woman who rejected him - and who rejected Carlin himself, he said, even as he protected Linehan from Leppink by lying about her whereabouts.
In the decade after Leppink's death, Linehan went on to marry a physician, have a daughter, earn a master's degree in public administration and open a cosmetic laser treatment center in Olympia.