Guilty plea entered by suspect in murder of former state senator

(left) Linda Collins in an undated photo with Becky O'Donnell (right) Source: Facebook

POCAHONTAS, Ark. – The on-going legal drama surrounding the 2019 murder of former State Senator Linda Collins appeared to be moving toward its conclusion on Thursday.

Rebecca “Becky” O’Donnell entered a negotiated guilty plea this morning to first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse charges in Randolph County court, reported Region 8 News. She also pleaded no contest to two charges of solicitation to commit capital murder, related to charges filed while she was in jail awaiting trial.

O’Donnell was sentenced to 40 years for the first-degree murder charge, three years for abuse of a corpse and seven years, to be served concurrently, for each of the solicitation of murder counts, the Arkansas Times reports. She will get credit for 417 days of time served.

O’Donnell, a former campaign aide and close friend to Collins, had previously pleaded not guilty to capital murder, for which she was arrested last year. Several days after the discovery of the body, O’Donnell was taken into custody on Highway 62 West in Pocahontas. The location of the arrest is of significance since the visitation for Collins was happening at the same time on Highway 62 West at Sutton Freewill Baptist Church, according to Collins’ obituary. Both O’Donnell and her fiance, Tim Loggains, were stopped on their way to the funeral, family told NEA Report.

While O’Donnell was arrested, Loggains never faced charges. He even told ABC News last year he believed his fiance was innocent – something she contradicted in court Thursday with her admission of guilt.

 

Court sources expected O’Donnell would be entering a guilty plea in the murder case since last week.

This is a developing story and NEA Report will update this article with more information as it becomes available.



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