Mechele Hughes was a 23-year-old stripper when she met Kent Leppink at her place of work, The Alaska Bush Company in Anchorage, Alaska. About a month after meeting Hughes, the 36-year-old commercial fisherman proposed to her. She said yes. Ten days later, she said yes to another man, Scott Hilke, and another, John Carlin. For a few months, Hughes, Leppink, and Carlin lived together. (Hilke lived in California.) The romantic triangle between Hughes, Leppink and Carlin came to end when Leppink’s dead body was found with three gunshot wounds to the head. There was no evidence to link Hughes and Carlin to Leppink’s murder but prosecutors say Hughes had a motive – Leppink’s $1 million insurance policy. (She didn’t know it, but Leppink had changed the beneficiary on the policy a few days before his death.) Ten years later, Hughes -- who had since become Mechele Linehan, a college graduate, doctor's wife, and mother -- was found guilty of conspiring with Carlin to kill Leppink. Carlin was found guilty of murder. Less than one year into serving his sentence, while awaiting an appeal, Carlin was beaten to death in jail.
Linehan was sentenced to 99 years in prison but her verdict was overturned in 2011. She is now free and speaking with the press. On 48 Hours, Linehan cries: “There’s nothing I can do to make people believe me or like me.” She admits with a smile “I might be a witch but a sociopath I am certainly not.” 48 Hours airs Saturdays at 9pm on CBS.
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