Published March 22, 2010
Linehan taken from prison to hospital for emergency surgeryBY KYLE HOPKINS
Mechele Linehan, whose high-profile murder conviction was overturned earlier this year and who will now stand trial again for the 1996 killing of Kent Leppink, was rushed from prison to an Anchorage hospital last week for emergency surgery, her mother says.Sandy McWilliams said in a phone interview that Linehan was recovering Sunday morning at Alaska Regional Hospital and that her family expected her to return to Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River later in the day. She declined to elaborate on her daughter's illness, but said it was not life-threatening.Citing medical privacy laws, Department of Corrections spokesman Richard Schmitz would only say that Linehan was taken to a hospital for "medical observation" and that the incident wasn't related to an attack or accident.The Alaska Court of Appeals overturned Linehan's conviction in February, saying the jury should never have been allowed to see some of the evidence presented at trial. Linehan will now face trial all over again, but prosecutors won't be allowed to present their theory that the 1994 movie "The Last Seduction" inspired Linehan to plot Kent Leppink's murder. They are blocked from introducing as evidence a letter from Leppink, predicting Linehan would kill him.McWilliams said she first heard of her daughter's medical troubles Wednesday night. A surgery followed soon after, she said. The pair talked on the phone Sunday."She sounded really good. She was, you know, uncomfortable but not in a lot of pain," McWilliams said. The mother declined to talk about the nature of the surgery without first talking to Linehan's husband, Colin Linehan."She is doing fine. She reported that both the people at Hiland and the people at Alaska Regional have done a super job," McWilliams said.