Arkansas woman accused of lawmaker's death urged other prisoners to kill judge, prosecutor, former victim: police officers

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THE Arkansas A woman charged with the murder of her "friend" and former state senator Linda Collins-Smith is facing new charges this week, accused of trying to hire colleagues to kill the victim's ex-husband and a judge and prosecutor who were initially involved in the case, according to court records.

Rebecca Lynn Donnell, 48, was charged on Tuesday with two additional charges of criminal solicitation for committing murder in the capital and two charges of criminal solicitation for committing tampering with physical evidence after several inmates told police she I wanted to kill Phil Smith and his current wife. .

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CAMPAIGN STAFF OF THE SENATOR OF THE EX-ARKANSAS STATE, & # 39; FRIEND & # 39; LOADED IN POLICY KILLER

A former Collins-Smith spokesman described the relationship between the victim (left) and O'Donnell (right) is that of two friends.

A former Collins-Smith spokesman described the relationship between the victim (left) and O'Donnell (right) is that of two friends.
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Four inmates told Arkansas state police that Donnell had talked to them about killing Collins-Smith's ex-husband and making the death look like suicide, according to a testimony filed on Tuesday.

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One of the witnesses stated that O 'Donnell told her that' Phil Smith needed to be killed and that a 'suicide note' would be left for the charges to be dropped from her. ”Another told police that Donnell wanted Smith's current girlfriend dead wife to make it look like she was in the process of leaving him.

Handwritten "suicide notes", allegedly written by O'Donnell, were handed to investigators.

The other detainees also claim that O'Donnell requested that his vehicle, being held in Randolph County Prison, be blown up "to destroy any evidence that might be on the vehicle," the statement continued.

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Two inmates said she sought the death of the prosecutor who was handling the case and a judge who initially presided over the case before it was reported last summer. The prosecutor also unexpectedly withdrew from the case late last year.

It was not immediately clear whether O 'Donnell's request came before or after the refusals.

In this January 28, 2015 archival photo, Senator Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, speaks at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas (AP Photo / Danny Johnston, File)

In this January 28, 2015 archival photo, Senator Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, speaks at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas (AP Photo / Danny Johnston, File)

Three inmates said O'Donnell said they could take a bag of gold and silver at Phil Smith's house as payment for the murders.

A spokesman for the former legislator described the relationship between the victim and O'Donnell as that of two friends. O'Donnell served as a witness in the Collins-Smith divorce case in 2018.

Collins-Smith, 57, was found dead in front of her home in Pocahontas, about 200 kilometers northeast of Little Rock, on June 4. Police said she was stabbed to death and O'Donnell was caught on video removing security cameras inside the former lawmaker's house. home.

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Lee Short, O. Donnell's attorney, denied the charges and questioned whether the prisoners were accusing their client in hopes of settling settlements in their own cases.

A hearing date has not yet been set for O'Donnell on the new charges, but she is due to go to trial in October after pleading not guilty to the capital murder. Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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