Woman accused in the death of the former senator receives new charges

Senator Linda Collins-Smith was found shot dead at her Randolph County house on June 4.

Weeks later, state police arrested his former assistant, Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, of Pocahontas, Arkansas. The suspect was charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and manipulation of physical evidence in the Collins-Smith case, said KATV, a CNN affiliate.
Authorities now say that after going to jail, he tried to hire his cellmates at different times to kill Phil Smith and his wife, according to an affidavit of probable cause published on Tuesday. He described Smith as the victim’s former husband.

In October, he told one of the inmates that he wanted Smith’s death to look like a complete suicide with a note, according to the affidavit. And instead of receiving payment from her, she told the inmates to steal gold and silver from the couple’s house, according to the affidavit. One of the prisoners was the suspect’s cell mate for three months, according to the affidavit.

O’Donnell told the inmates that she was targeting Smith because he had cheated on her. He also asked inmates to find his car in police custody and burn it to eliminate evidence that she claimed to have been planted, according to the affidavit.

A series of new charges have been filed against her based on information from jail informants.

Charges after the death of the former senator

In the paid murder plot, O’Donnell was charged with a request to commit capital murder and a request for manipulation of physical evidence while in custody of the Jackson County Jail, according to court documents.

Her family said she supports her and does not believe in the latest accusations. In a statement, his fiance said his faith in her is “unbreakable,” according to the affiliate.

“We cannot imagine that the evidence really supports these accusations. The accusations defy credibility,” the statement said. “I will not even comment on the informant’s extensive criminal history, but I will wait to see if the State produces credible evidence in the trial.”


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