Prosecutors charge ex-aide in death of former Arkansas senator

Authorities have arrested a woman in connection with the homicide investigation into the death of former state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (pictured). File Photo courtesy of Arkansas GOP/Twitter.

June 18 (UPI) — A woman described as a onetime campaign aide and “good friend” to former Arkansas lawmaker Linda Collins-Smith has been charged with capital murder in her death, authorities said.

Rebecca O’Donnell was arrested last weekend and made her initial appearance Monday at the Randolph County Courthouse, where authorities formally charged her. Other counts include abuse of a corpse and hindering physical evidence.

O’Donnell is scheduled to return July 30 to enter a plea. Until then, she’s being held without bail.

Collins-Smith was found dead outside her home on June 4, but authorities haven’t specified how she died. Prosecutor Henry Boyce said it took investigators two days to identify her using dental records due to the body’s advanced state of decomposition.

Collins-Smith served in the Arkansas House from 2011 to 2013 and the Senate from 2014 to January, after losing a bid for re-election. Ken Yang, a former spokesman, said O’Donnell was a campaign aide and a friend. He said he wasn’t aware of any falling out between the two.


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