Sunday, July 27, 2008

Colin's Introduction

Greetings Friends,

My name is Colin Linehan. I am the husband of Mechele Linehan. I have known Mechele for over 10 years and she is beloved to many. My audience for these postings is intended for those who are interested in lifting the veil of tabloid media and peering into a reality based on facts and understanding. The “reality” of the situation doesn’t include a made for television narrative concocted for maximum negative impact. Sorry. This narrative won’t make sensational headlines or sell newspapers. It, therefore, has no commercial value. The truth rarely does.

Before I proceed, it is necessary to make a focused disclaimer. This web-log site was not created by me. I had no input or involvement in its creation. This site was created by family friends who have peered into Mechele’s heart and spirit and have been impacted by her generous being. Mechele and I are blessed by a myriad of friends and we are lucky to count this blogspot’s creators among them.

As a side note, I must say that I admire the bravery and initiative of Kevin and Terri. Let me explain. I have read very little of the media coverage and even less of the malicious, anonymous comments made by ignorant individuals to the newspapers that have covered Mechele’s trial. Some people have pointed out the more absurd comments to humor me. They are indeed humorous to the extent that people can make claims about events they know nothing about. “I like to criticize things I don’t know about”. To me, that is funny. But, in truth, that is the direct fault of my family by choosing to not get involved with the media during the trial. So, there are no hard feelings from me. But for friends to voluntarily put themselves into an arena that invites mockery and ridicule is admirable.

Mechele and I have never wanted or sought out media attention from this tragedy. In fact, the opposite is true. We have turned down so many offers from producers of major television shows and editors of newspapers and periodicals looking to exploit Mechele’s peripheral association with the Leppink’s tragedy for ratings and sales. Yes, that is correct… “Peripheral”. I know what sentiments, from those convinced of Mechele’s guilt, will be provoked by using this phrasing. I am not naive. Contrary to the inference that I am a clueless husband blinded by love, the truth doesn’t lie within that categorization. These postings do not have the intention to defend myself. Anyone that knows me can tell you that the one adjective that doesn’t apply to me is “naive”. The purpose is to expose the readers to many facts and circumstances that have not been reported on and reveal the shallowness of the arguments made by the prosecution that were sold to the media and jury. You will indeed see that “justice is a game” and that the rules are flexible and often ignored.

The truth of the events and circumstances that surrounded the relationships of many people associated with Kent Leppink before his death have been revealed to the media, and thus to you, in an extremely incomplete and biased package. This is because our family decided not to participate in the process. From the trial standpoint, we felt we only had to challenge the assertions made by the prosecution and show that the narrative presented by the State had “more holes than Swiss cheese”. We decided not to focus on a “story” to explain the narrative of Mechele’s life and relationships at that time. This was a conscious decision based on the fact that the prosecution’s narrative contradicted itself and their witnesses were flawed, to say the least.

We have no regrets about this decision from a legal perspective. The fact of the matter, however, is that this case was decided using a method that relied on factors other than the strict legal constraints that are inherent in our system. This is a serious allegation, but the facts that I will give to support this assertion are hard to ignore. I will use the juror’s own words to show some of this. For example, one of the juror’s stated to a reporter that one factor in the reasoning of Mechele’s guilt was that the defense didn’t give the jurors a “story” about what happened. This alone is an incredibly scary statement that goes against the very grain of our justice system. The legal burden on Mechele was not to describe the events and what happened. The burden rested solely with the State to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mechele committed the crime she was accused of. The role of the jury was to presume Mechele innocent and leave the burden of proof on the State, not on Mechele. These were the rules of the “game” that we played. I will show with jury and witness statements that the burden was placed on Mechele to prove her innocence.

I will also describe events in the trial that were ignored by the media and by the jury that support my assertions. This will be done using quotes from the trial transcript and from statements made by witnesses, the prosecution team, and the jury itself. I will not rely on hearsay statements or extrapolations. My objective is to remain empiric in every instance. If I stray from that, I will make clear that the conclusion or interpretation is my own.

My ideal is to make available only the facts that are clear and unassailable. It is true that some of these facts have not been presented in the media and some were not allowed into the trial. I will discuss these in three different links: Media, Legal, and Personal. This is a work in progress and is just getting started. There will be many more posts and documents, including audio of police interrogations, to come. The empiric data will rest mainly in the “Legal” link. This is truly a work in process and needs to be cleared by legal counsel. So, id est, stay tuned.

For those of you interested in truth and not tabloid, I invite you to read my postings. Also, our family appreciates the support of the hundreds of people who have written and expressed their support and dismay. This “case” is far from over, and we will continue the fight.

Colin Linehan

“An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.”

Bob Dylan, “Chimes of Freedom”

37 comments:

Sean said...

The burden was wrongfully put on mechele. But that is common place. I have no axe to grind, so I can say this without prejudice. The jury dropped the ball on this one. Even if mechele had something to do with it (which my gut tells me she didnt), the evidence is circumstancial at best. Our country's laws were based on the notion that it is better to let a guilty man go free than to convict an innocent one. Why have we strayed so far??? I am very curious about the abilty of the jury to understand their duties, and their jury instructions. I can only hope you have the strength to fight this fight.

sean

jenniferrose77 said...

Hi Colin and family and friends of Mechele,

I am a Canadian, 31 years old who works and lives in Toronto as a Critical Care RN. The first time I saw a report on Mechele's case, I was screaming at the TV... "PROVE IT!!" I have always been interested in Criminal justice and I have read and followed many cases. Never in my experiences have I been so shocked and disgusted. She was attacked visciously by the media, and railroaded by the justice system.
My heart breaks for Mechele, and all of you that have been devasted by this. I will continue to support her and this site. I have been spreading the word to my family, friends and colleagues. Many feel the same way I do.
Keep the faith and fight,
Sincerely, Jennifer M

Mechele's Friends said...

Thanks so much, Sean and Jennifer. I totally agree. It is wonderful to have thinking people out there see the truth. Thanks for keeping the faith and talking it up. It helps her to know that she is not forgotten. Not by a long shot. We will get her home!

Patrick said...

I didn't sit in that court room day in and day out. What little I know about the case was spoon fed to me by the press during the showings on CBS and NBC. I wasn't there and know little of the evidence so it would be wrong to speculate as to guilt or innocence. I leave that for others. It's my belief in this life that all of us are either a student or a teacher at any given time. It's up to us to decide what that is when we need to. I choose to be a student now for I simply don't know what is or isn't. So many lives lost. So very sad.

Diana said...

Mechele,

You will be in my prayers tonight. I feel you will be given another chance. Don't loose your faith in God. Belive in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Always pray every day. Remember that for every person that feels you are guilty, there are two that know you are innocent. Sincerely, Diana

Rob said...

I've read everything on your site and despite all the complaints you make about treatment from the media, I've yet to find any discussion of the facts that people want to hear about, namely: Why did she have the insurance policy? Why did she contradict herself in the recorded police statement saying that she only pretended to be his fiance yet in the emails she clearly leads him on? Why did she call the insurance company right before the murder? By the way, I'm sure the blog author will never post this entry so we'll all just have to keep waiting to hear "her side of the story", regardless of what the law requires.

Mechele's Friends said...

I decided to post Rob's comment because I think it's very illustrative of a general lack of understanding that has been shown by the public regarding our legal system during this case.

As Sean, above, said, the burden was wrongfully put on Mechele to prove her innocence. This can be a subtle difference that folks tend to miss. The prosecution needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mechele did this. Our stance is that there was plenty of reasonable doubt and 38 points (appeal) worth of wrongdoing on the part of the prosecution. It is not Mechele's or my or anyone's job to prove her innocence. It was the prosecution's job to prove her guilt, using lawful means, leaving no reasonable doubt. We believe there was plenty of reasonable doubt.

Also, I'd like to clarify that the purpose of this blog never stated to be a place to defend Mechele. From the start, we have made it clear that it is a place for people who have watched the case, thought about it for themselves, and decided Mechele was not guilty and did not deserve the treatment she got.

I don't really understand what Rob means by "regardless of what the law requires". The law obviously does not require me or anyone else to answer those questions or they would have been answered already.

There are plenty of places online to speculate and add to the hearsay about this case. I could answer Rob's questions, or most of them, but if I tried to answer them all, it might just be more hearsay. I was not there. I was not involved.

Mechele's mom may choose to, but I just want to clarify, again, that this place is to give the family and friends of Mechele a safe place to talk about something we already agree on--that there are not two Mechele's, one evil. That there is one real person with a real family and friends fighting for her life. So, it is Sandy and Colin's or anyone else's CHOICE if they choose to defend Mechele or not. They may, but they are not required. This is their forum to say what they will or won't without editing from an outside source that only wants sensationalism that adds to their pockets.

Oh dear. I was going to try to be brief.

But yes, as the moderator of this blog, I doubt I will post many, if any, more comments like this one, simply because it is not in line with what we are doing here.

Thanks all.

Mechele's Friends said...

Also, it is not our goal to discuss "the facts that people want to hear about", as Rob suggested. That sounds a little bit more like the fodder of a trash magazine. This is a forum designed to support a family going through a difficult time, not a gossip rag.

sandymc said...

For Rob,
Perhaps I can answer some of your questions. The insurance policy was taken out on both of them because Mechele was going into business with Kent and that would protect either one of them. They both tried to get a one million dollar policy on each other but they would only give Mechele $150,000. The week that Kent was killed he and Mechele had deceided to cancel both policies. Kent told Mechele he had called the insurance company (which he had done) and Mechele called the insurance company to make sure he had done that. She didn't contradict herself in her interview. Unfortunately, the public(including the jurors and the court) only heard parts of the interview. I am not making excuses for her, but she and Scott had just broken up and she was thinking of going ahead and marrying Kent up until a few days before he was murdered. She was finding out about the lies he had told her and that he had embezzeled money from his family, etc. One of the reasons we established this blog was to be able to answer questions. The only ones we can't address are ones that will affect the appeal and subsequent trial. Thanks for your questions, I hope that answers them.

Sean said...

I promise not to "volly" shots back and forth, but Rob any many people like Rob should read what they write and try to answer their own questions.
1. Why have the policy? A. Only an idiot doesn't know the answer to this one. And I guarantee the insurance broker helped establish the limits, based on several complex factors.

2. Contradiction? A. Is changing one's feelings about another after getting to know someone a contradiction or is it simply changing one's mind on an engagement? Is this this first engagement Rob has ever heard of being called off???

3. Calling insurance A. even dateline said the purpose of the call was to let the insurance company know she didn't have the rest of the premium, and she wanted a REFUND (i think approx$2600) thus voiding the insurance. (this was clear from the media)

Read the 5th amendment Rob.

Something tells me Rob would have been a perfect match for the juror who openly admitted to using Mechele's past to judge her, dispite the evidence.

Kay said...

The opinion that I drew from following the case, and I emphasize opinion, since only a few truly know what really happened, was that Mr. Leppink orchestrated his own death as an act of revenge. If this is not what happened, then I truly apologize to Mr. Leppink and his family, but I think this is the most reasonable conclusion.

Mr. Carlin has postulated this in his own defense. I agree with him, and believe Mechele's lawyers should investigate this scenario instead of pointing the finger at Mr. Carlin. I believe both he and Mechele are innocent.

Mr. Carlin states that records show Mr. Leppink was on the computer at 2:19 AM. Mr. Carlin sent an email out at 4:15 AM, making it almost impossible for him to have driven Mr. Leppink out 90 miles, murdered him, and returned within the time span.

He also points out that the mudprints following Mr. Leppink at the scene were almost certainly made by somebody of a lighter weight, since he was 40 lbs. heavier than Mr. Leppink. Mr. Carlin also claims TT told him about the change of beneficiary, and that he actually drove TT to his lawyers to change it. If Mr. Carlin was not involved, then there is next to no evidence against Mechele as well.

At the same time, I think a lot of evidence points to Mr. Leppink staging his own death. If he was homosexual, as Mechele and Mr. Carlin claim, it would explain his social problems as well as why he became "engaged" to Mechele, although I must admit it doesn't explain his obsession with Mechele. Mechele has stated from the beginning that TT never actually believed the engagement was real. He also changed the beneficiary on the insurance and managed to send a letter fingering his murderers shortly before his death. This just seems too coincidental. If he knew he was in danger, why would he agree to go anywhere with the murderer? If he was being murdered for money, he had the change of beneficiary form in his pocket and could've shown the murderer there was no money to be made.

My conclusion is that he had decided to end his own life but still wanted to get revenge on those in the house who he felt had mistreated him. He couldn't commit suicide, as the insurance policy would not be paid out, so he orchestrated his own murder.

With the facts I have heard, which may be very little overall, this is my current opinion, and I hope lawyers thoroughly investigate this possibility during the appeals process so justice can be served.

Best wishes.

maxwell said...

Good luck to all involved in this fight, especially to Mechele, her husband and daughter. I truthfully just heard about this whole case a few days ago -- and the unjustice shocked me. I just don't see that Mechele was presumed innocent -- which should be the case.

Although I know there isn't much I can do to help, we did donate to the defense fund and send Mechele some books on the Amazon list to help pass time during her hopefully short stay in prison. We also sent her a letter, hoping that even a letter from a stranger would help pass the time.

Anyway, I look forward to keeping up with the appeal. I myself have had terrible injustice happen with the legal system (regarding custody of my children), so I know it is not a system to be trusted. I just hope the appeal process works the way it was meant to.

Good luck to all, and especially to Mechele and her family. Our thoughts are with you, and we look forward to writing a letter of congratulations by next year...

scott in virginia

Mechele's Friends said...

Thank you SO MUCH Scott! Your kindness means to much to all of us.

sandymc said...

kay, you obviously paid more attention to details than any member of the jury did. In testimony not made real clear at the trial, the intial crime scene was so "muddled" that no real footprints were able to be identified. It was also not mentioned that John Carlin had a military background of such substance that even if he had done this, he would never have left a scene as such was found. Remember, it was quite obvious that whomever did this did not try to hide the body, nor shell casings, etc. And, to me the most important fact was that this man was getting ready to go out to sea! (in Alaska!) Come on, a simple shove overboard and the man would have died from hypothermia within minutes. Not to mention the fact that why didn't Mechele just marry him and THEN have the heinous deed done.....just think people!!!

B said...

To Rob, and others with similar questions, please read my letter to the judge that is posted on this site. I address several claims made by the prosecution because they were illogical and contradicted each other.

I live in Alaska, and through the local media both my husband and I followed the Carlin and Linehan trials. Although we do not know any of the people involved in this case, we were horrified and angered by the irresponsible reporting on the part of the local media. Media coverage of Carlin's trial focused mostly on Michele Linehan and read like pulp-fiction. As thinking people, we were thoroughly disgusted.

After discovering the Linehans' local newspaper was reprinting yellow journalism from Anchorage, I wrote a letter to the editor and submitted it to their newspaper. In my letter, I criticized the paper for reprinting unsubstantiated tabloid reporting that not only was responsible for Mechele's inability to receive a fair trial in Alaska, but also added to the misery of her family in their community. I described how the media feeding frenzy was largely responsible for her conviction so that people in Mechele's community would know what happened to her here in Alaska. If only for her child's sake, her community should know. However, Mike Oakland, the editor, refused to print my letter. He said it was because I do not live there. (Mind you, everywhere else I've lived, including Alaska, the local newspapers print letters from out of state writers.)

Even without the information Mechele's family had, we could see the unprofessional reaching by the investigating state troopers as they substituted fantasies for fact, the faulty conclusions drawn by the prosecution, and the serious lack of "beyond a reasonable doubt" evidence.

By the time Mechele Linehan went to trial, it was impossible for her to receive a fair trial here in Alaska, and at least one juror admitted to convicting Mechele because she had been an exotic dancer at one point in her life.

When we opened the newspaper to the headline blaring Mechele's conviction, we were literally sick. I cried, not just for a woman I do not know, but for all of us, because what happened to her at the hands of our justice system is truly frightening. Who might be next?

In Alaska, there are many weird violent crimes for such a low population because it is truly the United States' last frontier. Assorted odd-balls, misfits from the lower-48, criminals trying to hide, young people on adventures, immigrants from many countries, street people banished from their bush villages, and regular old American Joes and Janes, all live side-by-side rubbing shoulders. Closer to Russia than to the other states in our country, Alaska is isolated, and it was even more so in the early 1990s because of the lack of current technology. Even now, bizarre violent crimes are routine in Alaska, including in Anchorage. Therefore, while I do agree that there is reason to consider the possibility that Leppink was responsible for his own death, up here, there are any number of possibilities given who he was and who else he may have known.

Leppink was in Alaska because he had been disowned by his family for embezzling from the family business. The police had evidence of his stalking Mechele, as well as other odd behavior indicating the fellow was mentally unstable.

Please remember, too, that at the time of the shooting, Leppink was 36-years-old and Carlin was 39-years-old, while Mechele was only 23-years-old. I won't write more on these topics because I addressed them and others in detail in my letter to the judge.

Suffice to say that thin circumstantial evidence with conflicting evidence does not come close to meeting the standard for a conviction. Personality, morals, associates, occupation, titillating headlines, gossip, and stories--none are evidence of a crime.

Finally, even IF a 23-year-old girl had asked a man old enough to have fathered her to commit the crime, and IF there was enough credible convincing evidence to convict her of having made the request, but there was no evidence of any criminal behavior before or since that one incident in her life those many years ago, what judge in his or her right mind hands down a sentence of 99 years! The same sentence given the older man convicted of actually committing the crime!

It just boggles the mind, and it should scare all of us.

Mechele's Friends said...

Barb's letter is here: http://freemechele.blogspot.com/2008/07/barbaras-sentencing-letter.html, for everyone who wants to read it. (And read it, everyone should.)

Mechele's Friends said...

Hmm. Don't think that worked. There are links to the sentencing letters on the sidebar. Barb's letter was posted July 17th. It can also be found in the Blog Archive (sidebar) under July, towards the end.

hearts_and_thoughts said...

Has anyone ever looked into the very real possibility that Kent set Mechelle, John and Hilke up for his own self devised murder? My first thought upon hearing the letter Kent wrote had the word VINDICTIVE which means revengeful. He was in mental anguish over the triangle. He knew that Mechelle would not marry him and that is what he wanted more than anything else. He knew he went on a wild goose chase to Hope. He knew John had a gun. All he had to do was hire a hit man to kill him and plant the gun in the house and send the letter and wallah...he accomplished what he set out to do! Did anyone look into this and investigate this possibility thoroughly?? The police obviously can be led easily as already apparent by many innocent people incarcerated for circumstantial evidence less than in this case. Did the attorney look into this? Did any investigative reporters look into this? Kent may have wanted to die if he didn't have Mechelle. He probably figured out that she was with Hilke who she loved at the time. Many a people have killed themselves and others for less reasons. He said in his letter he wanted them to burn and that's what he set out to do.

Jaci said...

My first exposure to this case came tonight after watching 48 Hours on CBS. I wasn't even planning on watching it but I was in the bathtub and couldn't change the channel when NCIS went off. I'm glad I couldn't.

I do not know if Mechele or John are innocent or guilty, though like others, I have my opinion. What I do know is that I was utterly speechless after watching this program. I had no idea that you could convict someone of a crime, especially murder, with so little circumstancial evidence. I totally agree with B, that we should all be scared that our legal system allows this to happen.

I also feel, after watching the program that Kent could have planned this whole thing out. I really wish Mechele's defense team would have gone in that direction. Kent had obviously been through prior disappointments. Maybe this is the one that he couldn't get past. The letter he sent to his parents was just a means of retaliating against Mechele for rejecting him. I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT IF YOU CAN PREDICT YOUR OWN DEATH, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO PREVENT IT. Personally if I knew there were three people whom I thought could/would kill me, I would mark them off of my list of hang out buddies.

To me this case just proves that if you can NOT afford the BEST defense attorneys money can buy, then your putting your life in the hands of a "not so fair" judical system. We've seen in the past that money can win a case with very strong evidence against a person.

To Mechele, Colin, and daughter...I feel such anger at how this circus has turned your life upside down. I can only hope that your daughter can be strong and ignore any negative gossip being spread about this case.

Mechele, hang in there because I do think you are innocent and if that's the case then we have to believe justice will prevail!! These have to be your darkest and scariest days but I truly believe there will come a time soon that the sun will shine in your life again. Colin continue to be strong. We are all praying for justice!!!

Jaci

bugwmn01 said...

I think Mechele is innocent....her tears are with pain, not of pity, her tears are of regret that she ever met these men, not of guilt that she killed anyone. I feel sad for her daughter and husband that are going through all of this. I hope Colin will keep the faith, because as I have seen in the past (from family experience)...time passes and people move on and tire of the stress and agony that it has on the families of the convicted. I hope his faith in God is as strong as his faith in Mechele....because that is the only way he will make it through all of this.

God Bless you and your daughter Colin and I hope that all the appeals are successful. I will send Mechele some books that will help her through this difficult time.

LisaMarie (San Antonio, TX)

Tiphany said...

How could this have happened? There was no solid evidence against Mechele. Period. The end. So what the hell is really going on here? She was convicted for being a dancer and nothing more. The minute that fact was revealed to the jury, her case was lost. I truly hope the truth comes out before it's too late.

Jennifer said...

In regard to Rob's comment, and the replies to it, I understand that the prosecution must prove guilt, and that is the way our system is set up - however, for those of you who think it is not right that a person's past or past actions should not come into play -Well, that is very unrealistic. Our past DOES say alot about us. And I can assure you that jurors, in spite of what they are told they must do or consider, DO go with their gut feeling, and their feelings about defendents do have alot to do with their verdicts in the end.

I am not an unsympathetic person, and am even an ex stripper myself, but I watched the show on 48 Hours, and have read alot on this website - I am still not convinced that Michele is innocent.

roderick wells said...

I have watched the episodes on 48, and even with the increased drama and unseen facts that werent seen by me, I can look at mecheles face,and expressions, and only fool would think that she is guilty, i been around,seen alot,and if she was as evil as they try to patray her,she would not be so emotional,i feel so sorry for the young mother,and colin is a great man for standing by her as well,i hope something happens to free her,its such a waste for such a smart and pretty woman to be caged like an animal.if i may get permission to write her, it would be an honor.meanwhile, i will be praying and keeping in touch if thats o.k. thanks michael ozzztess@netzero.com feel free to write me regarding mechele

Bmialone said...

Going through old posts gathering information to send to a journalist I admire, and I want to address this comment from Jennifer, "I am still not convinced that Michele is innocent."

The most vital point in this case, and in all criminal cases, is not whether we, the judge, or the jury is convinced the accused is innocent. The rules of our justice system make that irrelevant because what matters is that the jury is convinced of the accused's Guilt!

Under our laws a defendant is not required to prove their innocence, but rather, the prosecution is required to Prove their guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

In this case, the prosecution didn't even come close! In fact, there was more evidence pointing away from Mechele than there was pointing toward her, but the lead investigator, Linda Branchflower, and the Troopers entirely ignored evidence, leads, and obvious suspects because they wanted to convict Mechele and John Carlin.

My question is why? Because it was more exciting and titillating for the Troopers? Because Linda Branchflower wanted to make a name for herself? (Apparently she is writing a book about the case now.)

Because this is a small place and without her even being aware of it some people in the system knew of and remembered Mechele or were friends with people who knew her?

Did she not pay enough attention to someone when she was still dancing (when the killing took place she wasn't even dancing anymore but one wouldn't know that from the media and prosecution's story).

Did she pay too much attention to someone's husband who liked hanging out at strip joints, someone Mechele wasn't even aware of like a resentful female investigator or one of her friends?

Did Mechele not show enough interest in the judge way back when, and without her knowing it he remembered her? (Mechele was very young and lovely and believe me, men here would remember her even if she wasn't even aware of them!)

I mean, REALLY, why would Linda Branchflower and the Troopers insist on their ridiculous story instead of conducting a responsible investigation? Why did the prosecutor actually go with it when there wasn't actually enough evidence to even charge Mechele if he'd been conducting his responsibilities ethically? Why did the judge buy into it to such a degree that he gave a woman with No criminal record and who was not even accused of actually doing the killing a life sentence of 99 years???

Anyway, back to Jennifer's comment: It doesn't matter whether or not any of us are convinced of Mechele's innocence because as I explained, that is irrelevant if our justice system is actually following the laws of the land.

Unfortunately, those laws are only as good as the people enforcing them and currently I don't feel very good about the people of Alaska when it comes to justice. We don't have anything in our justice system to be proud of when we let things like this happen.

Anyone who thinks the criminal justice system doing this to another person, regardless of whether we know them or whether we approve of them, doesn't have much to be proud of either. We need to think about that because if injustice can happen to any family, it can happen to ours.

Dr. Fuller said...

I have to say that I am not convinced of Mechele's innocence, either, and to be quite honest with you, I really think that those of us who are posting our thoughts on why we're unconvinced are actually far more beneficial to you and your case than those posting words of complete support. The jurors are going to be just like us -- unconvinced.

I realize that my opinion is irrelevant because, as you said, all that really matters is what a jury thinks. However, it seems to me that if you're going to have a blog about Mechele's situation for the purposes of gaining public support, what the public thinks about the case DOES matter. If you want the public's support, the public needs to be convinced! This is what I think Jennifer (the commenter above) was getting at. As unconvinced members of the public, defending your case to us is good practice for if and when you go back in front of a jury.

You are correct that as a defendant, Mechele doesn't have any obligation to tell a story about what happened, but when evidence comes against her, the jury will expect her defense team to refute that evidence. The part that I am unconvinced about has little to do with the insurance policy or the emails. The evidence I consider to be the most compelling is with the letter Mr. Leppink sent to his parents. I agree that this is not evidence that Mechele was involved in his murder, however it is most definitely evidence that Mr. Leppink was afraid of Mechele and believed that she might kill him. If this letter was written to set Mechele and Carlin up, is that provable? All I see is a series of theories about Leppink and no evidence that his letter is unreliable evidence. The emails and the insurance policy only add additional credibility to that admitted piece of evidence.

The kinds of theories the defense has suggested are difficult to support in front of a jury, too. I find it hard to believe that a man who frequents strip clubs and lives with a female stripper is a closet homosexual.

So I guess what I want to know is, was Leppink really afraid of Mechele or just setting her up? If it was just a set-up, how can that be proven? (Yes, her defense DOES have an obligation to refute admitted testimony -- that's why it's called "defense.") And if he was afraid of her, then why?

Clearly, if he was afraid of her, that doesn't mean she was involved in his murder, but if you combine that fear with the emails and the insurance policy, then these are things you need to refute to the jury. You can go with this attitude of "Mechele has no obligation to prove herself" all you want, but that is a self-defeating attitude. The fact of the matter is that juries, right or wrong, want her to prove herself. Why else do you think these multi-million dollar trial lawyers win all those big cases? Answer: because they present the case that the juries want to hear.

I'm sorry to have posted anonymously. I didn't feel like creating an account.

Bmialone said...

Anonymous said: "I agree that this is not evidence that Mechele was involved in his murder, however it is most definitely evidence that Mr. Leppink was afraid of Mechele and believed that she might kill him.”

Actually, it isn’t evidence of that because there is no corroborating evidence to support it. There is no evidence of any kind that Mechele or John Carlin did or said anything threatening to Kent Leppink. Instead the evidence shows Kent stalking Mechele, even to another state, and stealing things from her and her boyfriend! That means, the behaviors/actions the authorities know of before Kent’s death were Kent’s, not the others.

We don’t even know for sure that Kent Did write it and mail it! We know only that his parents claimed he did; the same parents he left the one million dollar insurance policy to; the father who was in Anchorage at some point during Kent’s last 24 hours alive (and who told authorities he couldn’t remember when he saw his son last, not even whether Kent drove him to the airport. Would you forget the last time you saw your child if he were killed less than 24 hours after you saw him last? Would you not be able to remember whether your child had driven you to the airport and parted from you there?)

Even if he did believe she was a threat to his life, that didn’t mean it was reality. He could have believed little green men from Mars were out to get him, too, but it wouldn’t make it true.

In addition, the fact that the letter “... isn’t evidence that she was involved in his murder” is what counts! If it isn’t evidence, then it didn’t belong in the trial. (At the appeal hearing one of the justices stated that in other trials such evidence was not allowed even when everyone knew for sure that the accused had committed the crime; it was in-admissable for all of the reasons people have discussed on this site.)

Bmialone said...

Anonymous said: "If this letter was written to set Mechele and Carlin up, is that provable?”

That isn’t required. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is provable. What is required is proving that Mechele was involved, and the prosecution never came close. In fact, they couldn’t and that is why they tried her in the press with all the steamy theories stated as fact and the entire case was only conjecture.

Anonymous said, "All I see is a series of theories about Leppink and no evidence that his letter is unreliable evidence.”

Again, that doesn’t matter in a fair and just trial following the law because 1) the writer was not available for cross examination or assessing his mental state. The accused could not face her accuser as the law requires.

2) If the letter is erroneously allowed, as this one was, the evidence that is important is evidence that the letter was accurate, that Kent was accurate and had reason to fear Mechele. Until there is some concrete evidence to support the letter’s accusation, then the letter is unreliable. The lack of substantiation and the lack of corroborating evidence to support the letter’s claim IS the evidence that it is unreliable evidence.

Finally, Anonymous said, "The emails and the insurance policy only add additional credibility to that admitted piece of evidence.”

That is true only if you read snippets of the emails out of context and ignore all other possible meanings and realistic logic (for example, what good would it do Mechele and Carlin to get one million dollars to pay ten million for safety on the island? The prosecution never even bothered to address that glaringly obvious question, and no one made them do so either.). There are too many inconsistencies in the prosecution’s story, with logical, Normal explanations other than their titillating scenarios, for me to cover in this post.

As for the insurance policy, that too helps the prosecution only if one continues to ignore what both sides know: that Kent wanted the policies because he and Mechele were going to start a business together and that is what the Leppink family did, they had million dollar insurance policies on each other for business reasons; that Mechele tried to cancel the policies and thought Kent had cancelled his, and she called the agent to instruct him to send them a refund; and if one ignores the fact that she didn’t need that insurance money if all she wanted was to milk a man for his money and they would do anything for her, because John Carlin was loaded (yet, she worked and paid her own way).

Because the prosecution keeps repeating the same story, ignoring the evidence and what was testified to in the trial as if it wasn’t, and did so again at the appeal hearing, people just keep repeating it! The adage about repeating a lie until it is considered the truth is illustrated by this case.

Bmialone said...

I forgot to address Anonymous’ statement: …"when evidence comes against her, the jury will expect her defense team to refute that evidence.”

First, there wasn’t any substantive evidence against Mechele, no physical evidence and only thin, conflicting circumstantial evidence.

Second, Mechele’s attorneys Did refute that evidence and they did so very thoroughly. Unfortunately, Mechele was not going to get a fair trial in Alaska by the time the press was finished with John Carlin’s trial and then hers, and the jury wasn’t even sequestered during her trial.

It is blaming the victim to think Mechele’s side did not handily refute the too thin evidence so she must deserve what she got, and it takes effort to read enough about the case to truly understand what happened, the travesty of it.

Lastly, I don’t think there is anyone who posts much on this site who does not already know what the public thinks. Sadly for Mechele’s family and friends fielding the ugly posts we do not see, who see the tabloid journalism all over the airwaves, the internet, and people’s heartless, foolish comments on such sites, they know it all too well.

roderick wells said...

Unfortunately,In my opinion of course, Mr leppink isnt available to take the stand, so the whole case rides on a letter from an obvously unstable gentlemen, whom was prepared to chase mechelle to where ever it took , but was scorned when things went wrong involving they,re future together, and how truthful are the words on paper of a person whom is unstable enough to be ousted from the family buisiness for stealing from his own parents? my apologys for cutting up on a passed away individual ,whom ive never met, nor do i know 100% of all the truths of the case,,but ive seen and heard of many 100,s of cases in my 52 years,,,,and the end result was never as this, espcially considering the family outcome and lifestyle turnabout that mechelle made,,i seen many story s of acomplices to a murder that actually were involved get 7 years in the joint and be out in 3..mechelle wasnt even proven to be that ...hows about the benefit of the doubt for this young lady and her family, but oh, thats our justice system at work again, minus the media circus, mechelle would have prob done just a few years,,and thats better than life at this point,my best to colin and the dear young lady,and theyre child whom suffers most too from this nightmare

roderick wells said...

A point of interest
anyone interested in seeing some true as Mechelles case, but 100 times worse real life accounts of what short sentences some real murderers get in the u.s. of a..tune to a few episodes of the first 48 hours,,at the end it shows some true SENTENCES given for cold blooded confessed murderers, not all turn out that way of course,but youd be surprised to see whom will bealking the streets in a few years,makes mechelles case look like a jay walking ticket,AND SHE GETS 99 YEARS,,,PLEASE..FOR ?

roderick wells said...

At really reviewing kents letter,its only obvious to any one with common sense or a brain,what happened here,I am not at all reluctant to say, that i personally believe the man was a phychotic, spoiled,mamas boy .and a thieving coward, unable to dseal with life ,leaving all responsblitie to his poort elderly folks,hes capable of whom knows what,If anyone should have been in fear of there life, it should have been Mechelle,this case reminds me much of the sensus taker whom hated his neibor so much, that he went to his door acting as he was doing his job, shot hiself, and hoped that the police would surely blame his gun gun toting, paranoid neibor..this case really needs to be looked into again in a very different way,like homicidal suicide?how else would his parents be able to collect on the mentioned policy?good job of reading between the lines on thaf post

pinkfloyddan said...

To Dr Fuller,
Although I am not sure if Mechele had any roll in the man's death, if he could write his parents a letter a few days before his death that he suspected it was Mechele or the two men she was allegedly engaged to and that Mechele should pay for this, why didn't he just get away from them?

Either he had some strong evidence that they were plotting to kill him or he was seeking revenge.

Any person with any sense of reality who knew there was the possibility he was going to get murdered based on evidence he had, I would either 1. call the cops or 2. get the heck away from the people.

Mechele is innocent until prove guilty yet our population has such a hard time adhering to that important principle of our legal system.

What did his first note say that his parents did read? Did it sound like a suicide note? And what did the letter say they opened after his death? Does it read like a suicide note?

We're talking about a guy who stole from his own family. Who the heck knows what this guy was up to.

If this guy was acting weird, like Mechele said, maybe she should have called the cops, too. If he was going through her mail and letters and emails, she should have broken it off. If he kept bothering her, she should have called the cops.

I hope the truth comes out soon. This is one of the harder cases I've seen to piece together.

RR said...

Kent Leppink's first letter said not to open the second letter unless something happened to him. I do not believe someone in his family didn't read the second letter right away, if they really received it in the mail like they've claimed. That isn't how most parents would react to such a letter. Instead, they would have read it immediately, if they were as crazy about her boy as his mother claimed. Also, a mother begging her son not to go somewhere because she feared for his safety would have called authorities, so I have trouble believing that part of her story too.

I've read the second letter in its entirety and it is strange. Kent's tone and language were almost aloof, certainly distant from the seriousness of what he was talking about. And he said odd things like telling his parents to use the money to take a vacation, but "only for two (or maybe it was three) weeks, but no more than that." That sort of detail was really odd. Of course, what he said about Mechele in his instructions to his parents was very odd. Then the way he signed off was so casual one wouldn't think he was talking about his own death! It also wasn't warm and heartfelt, but abrupt and casual.

Investigators found evidence of Kent's stalking Mechele, including finding her things and her boyfriend's things in Kent's car and possessions. The prosecution has acknowledged his obsessiveness and stalking her.

It is odd to say "boyfriend" because Scott Hilke was 17 years older than she. John Carlin was 16-years-older, and Kent Leppink was 13-years-older. They were all much older than Mechele.

In her youthful way, Mechele was trying to get away from Kent Leppink, which was why his obsessiveness reached the crescendo that it did; that and his father discovered the relationship was really a sham. The old man discovered Kent's first girlfriend in his entire 36-years-of life wasn't a real fiancée after-all. What went down between Kent and his father when his father discovered he'd exaggerated his romance for the previous year-and-a-half, and that Kent was really broke again instead of financially successful like he'd claimed, must not have been pretty. They'd already had bad blood between them so it couldn't have gone well. BTW, old man Leppink was in Anchorage with Kent when Kent changed his life insurance beneficiary to his parents. (Kent changed his beneficiary three times in five days.) He was in town at some point during the 24-hour period Kent was killed, but investigators up here never made him account for his whereabouts or show them evidence of when he left. He even claimed he couldn't remember when he saw Kent for the very last time, not even whether or not Kent drove him to the airport. How could a parent forget whether their child who'd been murdered had driven him to the airport only a day or two earlier? How could a parent not remember the last time they spoke to their murdered child? That whole scene is bizarre at the least, and suspicious at the most.

When I was that age, the age Mechele was then, when I got involved with people who scared me or wouldn't leave me alone, especially men because men were scarier, I just took off, usually sneaked off trying to avoid them in the hopes they would just forget about me. It never occurred to be to go the police, so I think Mechele not going to the police over Kent acting jealous and following her around was entirely normal and how most young women on their own handle such things.

RR said...

Not only did Mechele say Leppink was acting weird and stalking her, but investigators found evidence of it, and the prosecution acknowledged it.

In her youthful way, Mechele was trying to get away from Kent Leppink, which was why his obsessiveness reached the crescendo that it did; that and his father discovered the relationship was really a sham. The old man discovered Kent's first girlfriend in his entire 36.5-years-of life wasn't a real fiancée after-all. What went down between Kent and his father when his father discovered he'd exaggerated his romance, and that Kent was really broke again instead of financially successful like he'd claimed, must not have been pretty. They'd already had bad blood between them so it couldn't have gone well.

When I was that age, the age Mechele was then, when I got involved with people who scared me or wouldn't leave me alone, especially men because men were scarier, I just took off, usually sneaked off trying to avoid them in the hopes they would just forget about me. It never occurred to me to go the police, so I think Mechele not going to the police over Kent acting jealous and following her around was entirely normal and how most young women on their own handle such things.

I read 39 letters to Judge Volland in support of Mechele. They were from relatives, distant relatives, people who'd known her since childhood, neighbors, old friends, coworkers, and people in her community. Every single one of them were consistent with each other in describing Mechele's character and the sort of experience with her and observations they had of her, and that includes those who did not know each other. Not only were they highly complimentary and appreciative of Mechele, but they were starkly opposite from the sort of person the prosecution described. In the state's own records they've written she has no criminal record, and the descriptions of Mechele by a large group of people all consistently describe a woman who is an asset to her community and her family. What she has accomplished in her life puts my efforts to shame. The only aberration in the picture is the prosecution's view of her.

So I ask, how is it possible that officials in a state she spent only a brief amount of time in her youth, with not one of them ever having known her or the people involved with Kent Leppink, managed to take her life from her, using only a description and labels unsupported by anyone who knows her and that are not reflected in the record of her life?

bmialone said...

There is also a letter to the judge from a juror listing improprieties by some of the jurors including watching TV, harassing and mocking jurors who had questions about the evidence, and discussing things they were not supposed to be discussing. Either the judge didn't read the juror's letter but cut corners instead even though a woman's life was on the line, or he did read the letter but took no action. Either way, considering the great responsibility it is unjust.

jb99 said...

we just viewed the version of the tragedy of TT's death. The trial and the process by the judicial system on this one went so wrong. So much was said about Mechele (age 18??) and so little on the poor customers of the topless bar. It was so slanted at each happening from the relationships to the murder of what Mechele did. What did she do except do what women everywhere have to done in order to make a better life for themselves. There would be no such businesses if there weren't a customer base, right! So sorry for all families who have suffered over these events.

Stephanie in Tennessee said...

Mechele was convicted for no other reason than the fact that she used to be a dancer. I too, was a dancer,once and it amazed and disappointed me how a new job could make people I had known for years treat me so differently. I was a student, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I paid my bills on time, respected people, helped people...I even was a volunteer at a local nursing home. I began having financial difficulties and went to work at a local club. Suddenly, I was nothing more than a "stripper". Mechele, I truly hope that people begin to look at you for who you are and all the accomplishments you have made. I pray that you are not discriminated against any further for working a perfectly legal job when you were just a young girl. God Bless you and I wish you the best.