Woman Accused of Murdering Ark. State Senator Allegedly Tried to Hire Women to Kill Victim’s Ex
Prosecutors allege Rebecca Lynn ODonnell tried to hire fellow female inmates to kill two people
The woman accused of killing Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith is facing new charges for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill the slain senator’s ex-husband and his new wife.
Collins-Smith was found dead at her home in Pocahontas, about 145 miles northeast of Little Rock, last June 4. Her body had been wrapped in a blanket. One of her best friends, 49-year-old Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, was later arrested and charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
Now, prosecutors allege O’Donnell tried to hire two female inmates to kill Collins-Smith’s ex-husband and his new wife while in jail.
PEOPLE confirms that O’Donnell has been charged with two felony counts of solicitation to commit capital murder, and two misdemeanor counts of solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence. According to court documents obtained by ABC News, these charges were filed based on testimony of jailhouse informants.
According to the probable cause affidavit, O’Donnell allegedly told two female inmates they would be paid with gold and silver that the ex — a former state judge — had in his home.
The new charges were filed after one inmate told authorities in October that she and another inmate were allegedly solicited by O’Donnell to kill the ex.
The inmate also alleged that O’Donnell wanted them to blow up her vehicle in order to destroy any incriminating evidence that might be inside.
The affidavit alleges that the women were also instructed to kill the ex’s new wife. They were allegedly told to “shoot or hang” Smith and were “supposed to pack a bag so it looks like [the wife] was in the process of leaving him.”
O’Donnell faces the death penalty if convicted of killing Collins-Smith. She has pleaded not guilty, and is being held without bond on the original charges. An arraignment on the new charges has not been scheduled.
Her attorney, Lee Short, did not immediately return a call for comment, but told ABC News that it is common for inmates to come up with stories to better their lives in prison.
“In high-profile cases, especially homicides, people tend to seek opportunities to improve their situations by giving statements against people,” he said. “It’s not surprising at all.”