Linda Collins killer avoids death penalty, ‘no more sealed documents’

Arkansas State Capitol Building, Dateline (NBC)

On the Deadline episode “Hands of a Killer”, Dennis Murphy investigation into the 2019 murder of a former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins. The 57-year-old conservative politician was found fatally stabbed outside her home in the small town of Pocahontas (population 6,528) where she was born and raised.

At first, investigators struggled to determine whether his murder was related to his political career or his personal life.

Almost two weeks after Collins’ murder, Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, a former campaign worker and friend of Collins, was charged with capital murder, tampering with physical evidence and abusing a corpse. In August 2020, O’Donnell admitted to killing Collins and hiding his body, part of a plea deal that resulted in a 50-year sentence.

According to ABC News, prior to O’Donnell’s confession, prosecutors were planning to seek the death penalty. son of Collins, Butch Collins (who found his mother’s body), said: “The plea deal wasn’t what my first choice would have beenbut at least we have a guaranteed amount of time she will be in jail and we will have the opportunity as the victim’s family to argue against her release at her parole hearings.

Above is video of the press conference held after O’Donnell’s sentencing. Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell announced, “there are no more sealed documents or anything else the judge has ordered. So you can get it all.

Deadline airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on NBC, right after The black list at 20 hours.

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