Rebecca O’Donnell (pictured) 49, who was charged with killing Sen Linda Collins also plotted hits on a judge and a prosecutor involved in the case, prosecutors said
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.
Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 49, was charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering in the killing of former Sen Linda Collins, 57, who was found dead outside her home in June 2019.
O’Donnell, who has pleaded 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’.
Earlier this year, O’Donnell was hit with more charges 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.
She was charged with two counts each of solicitation to commit capital murder and tampering with physical evidence.
O’Donnell (right in January), 49, is charged capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering in the killing of former Sen Linda Collins (left), 57, who was found dead outside her home in June 2019
According to the probable-cause affidavit, O’Donnell’s cellmate at the jail told Arkansas State Police officials that O’Donnell had asked her and three other women for her help in arranging the killings.
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.
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.
Earlier this year, O’Donnell (pictured on June 17) was hit with more charges 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
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.