An Arkansas woman killed a state senator for money and because she feared arrest — then plotted hits on a prosecutor and judge involved in the case, according to new reports.
Rebecca O’Donnell, 49, is charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and evidence tampering for the slaying of 57-year-old former state Sen. Linda Collins in June.
Prosecutor revealed for the first time the possible motive for the crime in court filings, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Robert Dittrich, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, wrote in court papers that the aggravating circumstances that justify the capital-murder charge are that the slaying “was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest” and “for pecuniary gain,” according to the newspaper. The prosecutor did not reveal how she stood to gain financially from the murder or why she feared arrest.
O’Donnell had worked for the lawmaker’s campaign and they were good friends, Collins’ spokesman told the paper.
In January, O’Donnell was hit with additional charges for allegedly trying to recruit several female inmates at the Jackson County jail in murder-for-hire plots, the Arkansas Times reported.
The targets included Collins’ ex-husband and his wife, a judge and a prior prosecutor on O’Donnell’s murder case, according to the paper.
Collins, who was elected as a Republican in 2011 but lost a reelection bid last year, was found slain in her house in Pocahontas June 4, at least two days after her neighbors reported hearing gunshots.
Her body was in an “advanced state of decomposition” and it took authorities two days to identify the remains using dental record, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Prosecutors are seeking the penalty.
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