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Arkansas Woman Accused Of Murdering State Senator, Then Plotting Hits On Judge And Prosecutor Involved In The Case

Jackson County Sheriff's Department; Arkansas State Legislature

Former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins was found murdered in her home on June 4, 2019.

Now, it seems prosecutors finally seem ready to reveal what they believe was the motive for her killing.

Rebecca O'Donnell, 49, was arrested last year and charged with "capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering."

O'Donnell and Collins were close friends.

The alleged murderer had worked for Collins' campaign in Pocahontas, Arkansas according to a spokesperson for the defendant.

In January, however, prosecutors also decided to charge O'Donnell in additional murder-for-hire schemes beyond the killing of Linda Collins.

They alleged O'Donnell sought to hire inmates from the Jackson County jail to kill "Collins' ex-husband and his wife, a judge and a prior prosecutor on O'Donnell's murder case."

Why did O'Donnell do these things?

According to The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, special prosecutor Robert Dittrich claimed in a court filing that he believes the murder "was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest" and "for [financial] gain."

It's unclear how O'Donnell would have benefitted financially from Collins' death or why she suspected she would be arrested.

The state will undoubtedly be making this point clearer during the upcoming trial.

Collins' body was found last June in an "advanced state of decomposition" at least two days after her neighbors reportedly heard gunshots.

It took multiple days to identify her body using dental records.

If prosecutors manage to convince the jury of O'Donnell's actions during her trial, they will ask the judge for the death penalty as punishment.

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