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Capital Murder Case Underway in Randolph County

(POCAHONTAS)  Shackled and wearing a bullet proof vest into the Randolph County Courthouse, Rebecca O’Donnell appeared before a judge and pleaded innocent in the murder of former State Senator Linda Collins.

Allegedly six days before the slain body of the former state senator was discovered in her driveway in June, video from inside the lawmaker’s home recorded her friend and former campaign aide removing security cameras, according to an affidavit released Tuesday by a judge.

The friend, Rebecca O’Donnell, will face the possibility of a death sentence if her capital-murder case goes to trial, prosecutors said Tuesday.

For the first time since O’Donnell’s arrest on June 14, officials were cleared by a judge to release some court records that reveal what led police to arrest the 48-year-old suspect less than two weeks after Collins’ body was found with multiple stab wounds.   

Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce also gave public answers to press questions for the first time since filing the case against O’Donnell.

At her second appearance at the Randolph County Courthouse, O’Donnell pleaded innocent to one count each of capital murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence. She continues to be held with no bail at the Jackson County jail, which has facilities for women.

According to the affidavit, Collins was last seen alive May 28. That same day, O’Donnell was filmed inside the former lawmaker’s home removing security cameras, the document stated.

Less than a week later, on June 4, Collins’ son, Butch Smith, and her father, Benny Collins, went to her home on Arkansas 90 in Pocahontas after not hearing from Collins for several days. In the driveway of the house, they found Collins’s body wrapped in a blanket and covered by a tarp.

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