"48 Hours Mystery:" Love And Death In Alaska

The Cold Truth in a Crime of Money, Power and Sex; Now, Another Death Turns This Murder Case on its Ear

In "The Last Seduction," Linda Fiorentino plays a femme fatale who persuades her lover to kill her husband for money and for their future. In the movie, the husband is murdered, the lover goes to jail, while the femme fatale coolly walks away with a pile of cash.

And, even though Aspiotis' diary doesn't prove Mechele liked or even saw this movie, Gullufsen wants the jury to see it now.

By the time the judge rules against him, the jury knows all about the movie, and the prosecution moves on to its star witness, Carlin's son, again, with his startling story of seeing his father and Mechele washing a gun.

But the damaging story seems a little less so when the defense points out that before his Grand Jury testimony Carlin's son twice had told police his father was alone when washing the gun.

For nearly a month, the testimony drags on.

Mechele made a call to the insurance company in the days before Kent died. Was that innocent or very calculated?

"She attempted to cancel the policy!" her attorney says.

Gullufsen has another theory. "We think that call was made to check on the insurance, not to cancel the insurance."

And what about her reaction when police told her about Kent's death? Was she really as upset as it sounds on that tape?

State Trooper Dallas Massie, who interviewed Mechele that day, testifies, "I've done a lot of death notification and it just seemed to me it lacked a bit of sincerity."

Certainly the jury is watching her reactions now. She considers testifying, but her lawyers convince her she'd be eaten alive on the stand.

So the defense instead calls the one person here who might know Mechele well enough make the difference: her husband Colin.

"I thought Colin was pivotal to present Mechele, to really bring her to life," defense attorney Kevin Fitzgerald says.

In closings, Fitzgerald emphasizes that there is not a shred of direct evidence against Mechele. "Conjecture, speculation, suspicion, innuendo. That's the package that the state has presented," he says.

He tells the jury they can't convict on that, or on Mechele's past.

For nearly five weeks, the jury struggled with the central question of Mechele's Linehan's tangled past. Is she just a suburban mom with a heart of gold, or a conniving ex stripper with a heart of stone?

It takes the jurors just two days to decide. Their verdict: guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged in the indictment.

For Kent's family, the whole experience has been bittersweet. "If we could have just taken our son home with us, you know? If that would have been the prize for winning but we can't ever do that. He's still gone," his mother says. "He wasn't perfect but we loved him. We love him today, we love the memory of him."

Mechele's ex-fiancé, Scott Hilke, thinks he's finally figured her out. "I think she's inherently evil," he says. "I believe to this day that I was a mark from the get go."

"I'm the lucky one," Hilke tells Spencer. "I wasn't involved in any crimes and I'm not dead."

Hilke says he still has many unanswered questions about this case, but then so does the prosecution.

"We know there was a gun. We know it went away and we know that it belonged to John Carlin and that it was in that house," Gullufsen says.

So what happened to the murder weapon and why hasn't it been found?

"That's a good question," Gullufsen tells Spencer. "You can use your imagination. It did exist; it was used to kill Kent Leppink. It's no longer there. Were it is is I don't know." In a jailhouse interview with "48 Hours", John Carlin claims he knows what happened to the gun.

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