Murder suspect Rebecca ‘Becky’ O’Donnell,, Campaign staffer accused of murdering her ‘best friend’, ex-Arkansas state Sen., Linda Collins
Rebecca ‘Becky’ O’Donnell, 48, charged with criminal solicitation to commit capital murder and tampering with physical evidence
O’Donnell is awaiting trial for the June 2019 murder of her former boss, ex- state Sen. Linda Collins, 57
Four inmates told cops O’Donnell had talked with them about killing Collins’ ex-husband, retired judge Phil Smith, 70
O’Donnell also allegedly talked with inmates about blowing up her vehicle to destroy evidence, and about killing a prosecutor and Smith’s current wife
Facing more charges: Rebecca ‘Becky’ O’Donnell, [right], previously pled not guilty to capital murder in the killing of former state Sen. Linda Collins, [left] who was described by the victim’s boyfriend as her ‘best friend’.
A woman charged with killing a former Arkansas state lawmaker and her one-time employer faced new charges on Tuesday alleging that she plotted to have the victim’s ex-husband killed.
Rebecca ‘Becky’ O’Donnell, 48, previously pleaded not guilty to capital murder in the killing of former state Sen. Linda Collins, 57 – who was described by O’Donnell’s boyfriend as her ‘best friend’.
And she has now been charged with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder and two counts of criminal solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence.
Four inmates told State Police that O’Donnell had talked with them about shooting or hanging Collins’ ex-husband, retired judge Phil Smith, 70, and arranging to have the death look like suicide, according to an affidavit filed on Tuesday.
O’Donnell also talked with inmates about blowing up her 2005 Honda Civic, which is being held at the Randolph County jail, ‘to destroy any evidence that may be in the vehicle,’ the affidavit states.
O’Donnell, 48, is now facing charges for allegedly trying to have Collins’ ex-husband, Phil Smith Judge, killed
‘Donnell on Tuesday was charged with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder and two counts of criminal solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence
One inmate said O’Donnell ‘told her that Phil Smith needed to be killed and a “suicide note” was to be left so the “charges would be dropped off her,”‘ according to the affidavit.
Smith and Collins had divorced in October 2018 and were involved in a bitter battle over their assets in the months before her death.
Three inmates said O’Donnell told them they could take a bag of gold and silver worth up to $30,000 at Smith’s home as payment.
Another inmate gave the investigator handwritten ‘suicide notes’ she said O’Donnell had written, the affidavit said.
Two inmates said O’Donnell also sought the killing of the prosecutor who had been handling her case, while another said she wanted Smith’s current wife, Mary Smith, killed to make it look like she was in the process of leaving Smith, according to the affidavit.
That prosecutor unexpectedly recused himself from the case late last year.
O’Donnell is accused of killing her former boss and friend, Collins, [photo], and then soliciting inmates in jail to destroy evidence, including her seized Honda Civic
Former Arkansas state Sen Collins was found dead and wrapped in a blanket outside her home in Pocahontas, Arkansas, on June 4, 2019. Her friend Becky O’Donnell was later accused of the crime and taken into custody. She has denied all allegations
Collins’ family said last month they believe the case against O’Donnell is strong, despite the recusals.
‘Ultimately, we want the focus of this case to remain on bringing justice to Linda,’ Collins’ family said. ‘Our hope is that Judge (John) Fogleman will take the actions necessary to set this case back on track, and make it an urgent priority to provide transparency to the public in this case.’
A hearing date had not been set yet for O’Donnell’s new charges.
Collins, who went by Collins-Smith in the Legislature, was found dead and wrapped in a blanket on June 4 outside her home in Pocahontas.
O’Donnell, Collins’ former campaign aide, is scheduled to go to trial on October 19 for the killing. Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty.
Police have said Collins was stabbed to death and O’Donnell was captured on video removing security cameras inside the former lawmaker’s home.
O’Donnell was arrested on June 14 as she and her boyfriend, Tim Loggains — who at one stage had power of attorney over Collins’ finances — were on their way to a visitation of the murdered woman’s body.