Retrial means convicted killer can post bail

April 29, 2010 

Linehan seeks public defender for second murder trial

Mechele Linehan appeared in Superior Court for a pre-trial conference on Tuesday. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News)

BILL ROTH/ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS

Anchorage - Mechele Linehan may be set free on bail until her new trial on murder charges begins, a state Superior Court judge decided Wednesday.

Judge Philip Volland said Linehan can be in the custody of third parties, including her husband, former Olympia doctor Colin Linehan, and Barbara Sheridan, who befriended Linehan after she was convicted of the 1996 murder of Kent Leppink.

Linehan also will need to post a $250,000 cash-corporate bond – costing her $25,000 in cash – before she is freed. She must stay in the Anchorage area.

Linehan, 37, has been an inmate at Hiland Mountain, a state’s women’s prison in Eagle River, since her conviction in 2007.

Prosecutors say Linehan manipulated former fiancé John Carlin III to shoot Leppink so she could get Leppink’s $1 million life-insurance policy payout.

Carlin also was convicted.

The Alaska Court of Appeals in February threw out the jury’s guilty verdict, ruling that Volland made errors in conducting the trial.

Volland said Wednesday that because of that ruling, the passage of time and the death of Carlin, the prosecutor’s case might be considerably weaker, giving Linehan a reason to stay for the new trial.

Linehan’s second trial on the first-degree murder charge is not yet scheduled.

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