Campaign aide, who murdered Arkansas Senator Linda Collins, hit with more charges for recruiting female inmates in murder-for-hire plots against a judge and prosecutor – Prosecutors to seek death penalty for Rebecca O’Donnell
Campaign aide, 49, Rebecca ‘Becky’ Lynn O’Donnell has been held without bail on charges of capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering since June 16
While in jail, accused of killing her former boss and best friend, state Sen. Linda Collins, O’Donnell tried to to recruit female inmates in murder-for-hire plots against a judge and prosecutor
She allegedly also wanted the killers to destroy evidence, blow up her car which had been impounded
Sen. Collins, 57, had been found dead outside her home on June 4, 2019, her decomposing body wrapped in a blanket in her driveway
Collins’ slaying ‘was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest’ and ‘for pecuniary gain,’ authorities have just revealed
Four female inmates told police O’Donnell asked them to arrange hits on Henry Boyce, the prosecutor who was assigned to her murder case, and Randolph County judge, Harold Erwin,
Earlier this year, O’Donnell was hit with more charges after authorities alleged that she to buy a hit Collins’ ex-husband, a retired judge, as well
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
The capital-murder charge carries the possibility of a death sentence, which prosecutors have said they intend to seek
O’Donnell [right] in January was charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering in the killing of former Sen Linda Collins [left] who was found dead outside her home in June 2019
An Arkansas woman who was charged with killing a state senator last year also plotted hits on a judge and a prosecutor involved in the case, prosecutors said in new court filings.
Prosecutors in Arkansas believe that Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell who was charged with killing former state Sen. Linda Collins last year did so for monetary gain and to avoid arrest, according to new court filings. Furthermore while in custody the suspect began plotting two additional murders to evade justice.
O’Donnell, 49, has been held without bail on charges of capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering since last June, when she was arrested about two weeks after the former lawmaker’s decomposed body was found.
Collins, 57, who went by Collins-Smith in the Legislature, was found dead June 4 outside her home in Pocahontas, about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Her body was discovered wrapped in a blanket with stab wounds.
In January, 2020, O’Donnell was hit with further charges after prosecutors said that she asked ‘fellow inmates to kill the victim’s ex-husband and blow up her impounded car so charges would be dropped’.
Becky O’Donnell was arrested in connection to Collins’ murder on June 16. While in jail three inmates said O’Donnell [photo], told them they could take a bag of gold and silver worth up to $30,000 at Smith’s home as payment.
Charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering in the killing of former Sen Linda Collins last year, O’Donnell who has pled not guilty to the charges, is believed to have committed the slaying for monetary gain, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
At the time, O’Donnell and Collins were close friends, according to a spokesperson for the senator. O’Donnell was also Collins’ campaign aide.
According to the Gazette, Robert Dittrich, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, said in an April 30 filing that the aggravating circumstances that justify the capital-murder charge include the belief that the slaying ‘was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest’ and ‘for pecuniary gain’.
More charges piled for O’Donnell after authorities alleged that she tried to recruit several female inmates at the Jackson County jail to carry out hits on a judge and a prosecutor formerly assigned to the murder case.
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.
She was charged with two counts each of solicitation to commit capital murder and tampering with physical evidence.
Becky Donnell is accused of killing her former boss and friend, Collins, [photo], and then soliciting inmates in jail to kill the prosecutor and the judge involved in her case. They were also to destroy evidence, including her seized Honda Civic
According to the probable-cause affidavit, the suspect’s cellmate told Arkansas State Police officials that O’Donnell had asked her and three other female inmates for her help in arranging the hits.
Two of the women told police that they were asked to help kill Henry Boyce, the prosecutor who was assigned to O’Donnell’s murder case, according to the Gazette.
Randolph County judge, Harold Erwin, was also the target of one of O’Donnell’s plots, authorities said.
Murder suspect Rebecca ‘Becky’ O’Donnell,, Campaign staffer accused of murdering her ‘best friend’, ex-Arkansas state Sen., Linda Collins […]
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’.
Collins was found stabbed to death on June 4 outside her home in Pocahontas, which is about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock.
A former Collins spokesman said O’Donnell was friends with Collins, and court records show that O’Donnell was a witness in the former lawmaker’s divorce proceedings.
Collins divorced retired Circuit Judge Philip Smith in 2018 and the two were in the middle of a court fight over their properties.
Robin Emis, an attorney for Collins during her divorce, said she didn’t believe O’Donnell was capable of the crime and described the woman as a close confidante of the ex-lawmaker.
‘She treated Linda as if she was either her friend or her mother. She just watched over her and protected her to a degree that was touching,’ Emis said.
Tim Loggains, O’Donnell’s fiancé, proclaimed her innocence and said they ‘both loved Linda and tirelessly gave our time and energy to support her, in every way’.
Loggains was granted power of attorney for Collins during her divorce proceedings.
‘Although Becky and I are devastated by the current accusations, we are trying to trust the judicial process and we hope that every possible suspect is being looked into,’ he said in a statement.
‘A lot of hurtful things are being printed and we ask that people please show us mercy while the police investigate every possibility.’
Collins’ family members have previously said they were ‘sickened and upset’ by the thought that one of her friends could have been involved in her killing.
Loggains has not been charged with any crime, and has adamantly asserted O’Donnell’s innocence.
The capital-murder charge carries the possibility of a death sentence, which prosecutors have said they intend to seek.
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