Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Oxygen: Snapped" Fun Happy Time Emails

All the producers’ names have been redacted because I still try to retain honor: I also redacted anyone who I did not contact. That is the way I roll. The first email/letter was an open letter to Jupiter Entertainment after I found out they were airing their episode. Of course, I had to find out from a secondary source. Even after I asked Jupiter to contact me so I could prevent my daughter from channel surfing that night, I heard nothing. The second message is to my mother-in-law. The third email is my response to the message from my mother-in-law. Confused? Me too.

And Here We Go…”

(From me and myself…. And also I.)


As you are well aware, I have had multiple conversations with two of your fellow Jupiter Entertainment producers regarding the case, State of Alaska vs. Mechele Linehan. Ms. XXXXX contacted me while she was doing field research for your episode of “Snapped” that was to feature Mechele. Ms. XXXXX was invited into my home so I could show her documents and audio that are not congruent with the previous media narrative and coverage. The narrative, of course, is determined by the State of Alaska investigators and prosecutors because of the verdict. Therefore, data that shows the individuals, working on behalf of the people of Alaska, were dishonest and manipulative of the media is excluded from most narratives.
I decided to share much of this with Ms. XXXXX I have also had email and phone correspondence with Ms. XXXXX, who is your series producer. I also had a very brief correspondence with you. Through that correspondence, although brief, I gave you the opportunity to meet with me prior to your work on your part of the production of the episode. The correspondence was cut short, on your end, secondary to lack of email and phone reply. These claims are documented. This letter’s intent is to clarify some areas in the previous media narratives about Mechele that are false.
This is necessary because of Jupiter Entertainment’s decision not to fact check statements that might have been made by other individuals about Mechele. So, if the narration or promotion of your episode makes statements that are false, you will be aware that you are slandering my wife and my daughter’s mother. I realize it is difficult to slander a convicted murderer. However, our anticipation of a successful appeal and subsequent retrial will potentially make organizations that neglect to fact check responsible for the damage to my family.
It has already been brought to my attention that you have already neglected the truth to sell your program. In your promotion for your episode, you state that Mechele was secretly engaged to Scott Hilke at the time of the crime. This is demonstrably false via depositions, testimony and affidavit. I will, therefore, mention other aspects of the media/prosecution narrative that are also false via depositions, testimony, and affidavit. This will give you foreknowledge of any potential slander. These examples are by no means the only false reports. I, however, do not have the time to list all the fallacies reported so, I will elucidate a few. This does not absolve any statements made by Jupiter Entertainment that were not fact checked.
It was reported that Mechele was “on the run” when first indicted. This is the opposite of truth because we were pleading with the prosecution for cooperation. The prosecution also let the press know that Mechele ran away from home at the age of 14 to become a dancer in New Jersey. Mechele was in Louisiana at age 14, and she went to New Jersey at age 17 and worked at a deli. This is verifiable and can be corroborated by multiple witnesses and affidavits. Other false information that was put out included that Mechele was engaged to three men at the same time. There is no evidence of this and, in fact, the evidence timeline during the trial shows this not to be the case at all.
The portrayal of Mechele by the media and prosecution was always consistent. The term “ex-stripper” was always there, as was “seduction”, “manipulation”, and “mastermind”. The portrayal was based on a paucity of evidence during a 3 month period, yet that portrayal defined who she was to the public. This portrayal was used by the local Alaska media to twist the facts presented during the trial. . For example, during the trial, the Prosecution presented the fact that Mechele uses her possessions to document equity when purchasing her motor home. That night, a “journalist” on television, that was in the courtroom that day, reported that Mechele was “trying to sell” her possessions for a “getaway” RV.
Another point of contention is when Detective Stogsdale and Detective DeHart state that Mechele is a sociopath. A sociopath is a term used to describe a person with anti-social personality disorder. This is a DSM-IV diagnosis based on empiric findings and criteria. Mechele meets none of the criteria, therefore, the term is pure pejorative. This was well demonstrated by Dr. Mark Mills testimony during Mechele’s sentencing hearing.
I understand that your duty as “post producer” is to make an episode that will generate viewers and advertising revenue. That is your job. But, I would also expect that you would be very concerned that any statements, broadcast by Jupiter Entertainment, would be fact-checked for veracity.
This is an open letter.


Colin A. Linehan

II. Initial email to Sandy McWilliams (my beloved mother-in-law), from Jupiter Entertainment Producer:

XXXXX forwarded your message to me. I really hate that you are upset by what is on the Oxygen website. I am hoping I can address your concerns by, first, answering some of the specific questions you have.

As to the excerpt you viewed on Oxygen's website and the timeline of when Mechele met Kent Leppink and John Carlin, we referenced Mechele’s statement to Alaska State Troopers at her home on on May 5, 1996:

R: I’ve known Scott longer than I’ve known Kent.
I : oh okay
R: I was with Scott when I met Kent
I: oh okay
R: I think I had just, we had just started dating probably three months before my birthday. Right before I met Kent.
I: in ninety four?
R: yeah

and Mechele's statements to police on July 31st, 1996:
Q: Okay, where did you meet John Carlin?
A: Last summer

You also asked who all we interviewed, and here is the list: From the Defense: yourself, John Carlin III, XXXXX; From the police/prosecution: Linda Branchflower, Steve DeHart, Pat Gullufsen, Dallas Massie; journalists: XXXXX ; others: XXXXX.

If you have any question as to what any of these people had to say, please call or write and I will be glad to share that information with you. I simply cannot legally send out a copy of the show before it airs, but again, do not mind filling you in.

I also want to assure you that it is always our highest priority to produce accurate stories. This episode has been reviewed by four attorneys, who require that we back up all statements with public record. We also feel that, because we interviewed so many people, both sides are presented fairly. Below I have listed some (not all) sound bites from our show in support of Mechele. I hope they will put your mind at ease, and again, please feel free to call or write back if you have any further questions.

Series Producer, Snapped
Jupiter Entertainment
8923 Linksvue Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922

XXXXX (Journalist): I remember talking to a neighbor who was very, um, shocked and stunned and didn’t believe that Mechele could have had anything to do with this.

XXXXX (Attorney for John Carlin III): There was a lot of hearsay in this case, a lot of speculation in this case. A lot of stitching together of details with hypotheses.

XXXXX (Attorney for John Carlin IV): Mechele was convicted because she was a stripper they just figured she was a manipulative stripper, and that’s what they do.

Sandy McWilliams (Mother of Mechele Linehan): I think it’s really unfortunate what a young girl at nineteen did for a year and a half of her life be judged by that.
(regarding Kent's letter to his parents)

XXXXX (Attorney): It was a piece of hearsay. The person who said it wasn’t available to cross-examine.

XXXXX (Attorney for John Carlin IV): That’s a very odd letter. It’s a letter that suggests to some when you read it that he wanted to set people up.

III. My Unsolicited Response to the Inane (see above) Email Sent to Sandy:


I don't like snark, but I find it hard not to be snarky about your email response to Sandy. It was, in my opinion, kind of ridiculous. How do the quotes from the investigation you provided back up any kind of claim that Mechele's engagement to Scott Hilke was "secret"? It is pulled out of thin air.

You decided to not interview any journalists who were actually present during the trial, and to include XXXXX is farcical. This individual dismissed our polite requests to not contact us at our home on multiple occasions and was NEVER present during the trial. The reporting on the trial had little to do with what was actually going on during the trial. I was present the entire time. Sandy knows the players, but she was only present for a small part of the trial. Point being, your claim of "both sides being presented fairly" is seemingly disingenuous.

I realize you have a show to sell and advertising revenue to generate. Please don't insult my family's intelligence, however. We never expected balance from your episode. We never expected anything but a superficial examination of the prosecutions case. I gave the benefit of the doubt to two of your producers, but when the post-production was about to begin, it was clear that Ms. Houston wasn't interested in attempts to challenge the prosecution's narrative.

Unfortunately, my mother-in-law trusted Ms. XXXXX and decided to participate. Unlike myself, she hasn't been burned before, and one has to experience it to know it. I am alluding to my experience with CBS.

Enclosed is a letter I sent via mail and email to your producers.
Please don't attempt to state that your show is fact-checked when you relied only on the prosecution. As many involved in this case can tell you, they have been very dishonest multiple times. My offer to fact-check was turned down.

Also... I would not be surprised if your decision to not discuss the movie, "The Last Seduction", was not suggested by the prosecution. They sure do not want to beat that horse anymore, as it is to their detriment. So, please don't pat yourself on the back for that. It obviously is a strong appellate point and should never have been used to portray Mechele during a trial.

Colin Linehan

1 comment:

Turtlepace said...

Oxygen used "Snapped" to describe Mechele? Isn't "Snapped" a better description of Kent Leppink?