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Prosecutor says woman killed Arkansas lawmaker for money

May 11, 2020 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A woman charged with killing a former Arkansas lawmaker did it for money and to avoid arrest, a prosecutor alleged in a court filing.

Robert Dittrich, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, filed a notice with Randolph County Circuit Court in late April. The Arkansas Times first reported on the new filing last week.

Rebecca O’Donnell, 49, has been charged with capital murder, abuse of corpse and evidence tampering in the killing of Sen. Linda Collins. She has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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Collins’ decomposed body was found outside her home in Pocahontas, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock, in June last year. O’Donnell was arrested a few weeks after Collins’ remains were found and has been held without bond in the Randolph County Jail.

O’Donnell was a close friend and campaign aide to Collins, according to the senator’s spokesman. The filing doesn’t explain what O’Donnell did before the killing of her longtime friend that she believed could have led to her arrest.

O’Donnell’s attorney, Lee Short, did not immediately return the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s request for comment.

Circuit Judge John Fogleman has scheduled a hearing for May 21 to address the applicability of the death penalty. O’Donnell’s capital murder trial is scheduled for October.

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