New documents released in O’Donnell murder case show motive in Linda Collins murder

New documents released in O’Donnell murder case show motive in Linda Collins murder
On Aug. 6, Rebecca O’Donnell pleaded guilty to murdering former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins. (Source: Arkansas Dept. of Corrections)

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - A series of detailed records released Friday provide information on the law enforcement investigation that centered early on Rebecca O’Donnell in the murder of former state Senator Linda Collins in 2019.

Officials released countless amounts of information through Arkansas Court Connect on the case Friday.

O’Donnell was sentenced to 50 years in prison in the death of Collins, who served in the state legislature representing Randolph County.

The records released showed Arkansas State Police investigators sought several search warrants for computer and phone records for Collins as well as O’Donnell’s residence.

Much of the information was under court seal until recently.

The affidavit also noted that O’Donnell told authorities about something else.

“Rebecca O’Donnell revealed approximately one week ago, Timmie Loggains had removed numerous security cameras from the Linda Collins Smith residence due to the cameras not staying charged. Ms. O’Donnell stated that Linda Collins Smith was going to see if she could return the security cameras to BestBuy for a refund. During the crime scene search of the Linda Collins Smith residence, the security cameras in question could not be located in the home,” the affidavit noted.

Authorities believed that the cameras were taken to the O’Donnell house.

However, officials said in the affidavit that a security company provided surveillance video from the house on June 14, 2019.

“The video in question shows the specific location inside the Linda Collins Smith residence where investigators believe Linda Collins Smith was murdered. The video shows Ms. O’Donnell with what appears to be blood on her hands while holding a large knife. The video also shows Ms. O’Donnell in possession of a white purse that appears to have significant amount of blood on it,” the affidavit noted. “Information provided by the medical examiner revealed that Linda Collins Smith had been fatally stabbed with at least six noted stab wounds.”

A June 27, 2019 affidavit for an application on a search warrant on O’Donnell’s residence provided some clues.

“Rebecca O’Donnell also stated that she has forged the signature of Linda Collins Smith numerous times while filling out checks from the bank account of Linda Collins Smith,” the affidavit noted. “It is reasonable to conclude that banking documents such as checks, receipts and other financial records are kept in the home and since Ms. O’Donnell has admitted to forging checks on the Linda Collins Smith account evidence related to those transactions could be located in the O’Donnell residence.”

Authorities said last year that they believed the murder was done for monetary gain.

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