To the People

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Has Anyone Checked Her for a Heartbeat?

It's an old story: Stripper-turned-criminal conspirator-turned-soccer mom and former state ethics board employee goes to jail for murder. I'm thinking Maggie Gyllenhaal for the lead with Tony Fuqua to direct.

Meet Mechele Linehan. The thirty-five year-old was sentenced to 99 years in jail Wednesday for conspiring to kill her former fiance in Anchorage, Alaska, back in 1996. She was trying to get a cool mil in insurance money.

So what was she doing in the intervening years? Well, for a while she was an administrative assistant for the Washington State Executive Ethics Board, which ensures ethical conduct by state employees.

As with any good crime story, it details like that that capture interest. And this one has tons of them. Linehan was working as a stripper in 1996 at a club called - I kid you not - the Great Alaska Bush Co., when she convinced John Carlin III, a boyfriend, to shoot her then-fiance Ken Leppink.

Unfortunately for Linehan, Leppink had recently changed his will and even wrote an only-to-be-opened-in-the-event-of-my-death letter to his parents saying that if he died that Linehan was behind it. She got nothing. So did prosecutors, who didn't have enough evidence to try her at the time.

Linehan then apparently went straight, got a degree in psychology, married a Washington State doctor and had a kid.

Things started to fall apart in 2005 when Carlin's now-grown son provided damning testimony against his father and Linehan. She was convicted back in October.

The kicker here? She was inspired to do it by watching the movie the Last Seduction. As the AP reports:
"The Last Seduction" is a modern-day film noir in which a ruthless beauty - played by the sultry, raven-haired actress Linda Fiorentino - uses her sexual wiles to manipulate others.

A former stripper, Lora Aspiotis, testified that she watched the movie with Linehan and that Linehan admired the tough-talking Fiorentino character.

"She told me that the character was her heroine and that she wanted to be just like her," Aspiotis said.
Well, not quite. In the movie she gets away with it. Sorry, babe. Anchorage just ain't Hollywood.

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