A friend of onewas formally charged with murder and appeared in court Monday morning. Rebecca Lynn O Donnell, aged 48, has been charged with aggravated murder, corpse abuse and falsification of evidence upon the passing of former Senator of Arkansas, Linda Collins-Smith. O Donnell, of Pocahontas, was arrested Friday at the death of Collins-Smith, found dead outside his home about two hours north-east of Little Rock on June 4th.
O Donnell was sentenced to a non-binding detention sentence during a brief court appearance on Monday, reports CBS TVH11's affiliate. O Donnell appeared with chained hands, dressed in a black and gray checkered uniform and a bulletproof vest, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. O Donnell appeared with a public defender, who filed an affidavit of indigence, according to the newspaper. She apparently would not have spoken.
The documents in the case were sealed and the police reportedly published little details about the circumstances surrounding the death of Collins-Smith, who was elected Republican to the Senate in 2014, but who lost his candidacy for re-election. last year. The body of the former senator was found in a "state of advanced decomposition" and it took the authorities two days to identify the remains with the help of dental records, according to the newspaper, citing a statement from the Attorney Henry Boyce.
After O Donnell was arrested Friday by the Randolph County Sheriff's Office and the Arkansas Police, state officials said the investigation was at a "Critical stage" and that "no additional information would be disclosed", unless authorities believe that this will not compromise criminal record integrity. "
According to Ken Yang, a former director of communications at Collins, O Donnell had been working on the last campaign of the former legislator and they were both "good friends".
"They traveled together and did some basic things, even after Linda lost her reelection," Yang told CBS News' Jericka Duncan.
Collins-Smith's family members issued a statement in which they said: "We are disgusted and unhappy that someone so close to Linda is involved in such a heartless crime."