GOP Campaign Aide Accused Of Murdering Lawmaker, Soliciting Murder-For-Hire
Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, a GOP campaign aide accused of murdering former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, reportedly asked several inmates to kill Collins-Smith’s ex-husband and his new wife in exchange for gold and silver, according to The Washington Post.
Linda Collins-Smith had been stabbed to death and was found wrapped in a blanket under a tarp at the end of her driveway in Pocahontas, Ark. last June.
O’Donnell, who was one of Collins-Smith’s closest friends and had worked on her reelection campaign, was captured on video removing Collins-Smith’s home surveillance cameras the last day the former senator was seen alive.
O’Donnell was charged with capital murder.
However, on Tuesday, authorities in Jackson County, Ark., charged O’Donnell, 49, with solicitation to commit murder and to tamper with evidence.
Several inmates told detectives that O’Donnell came to them for help. She first wanted to them locate O’Donnell’s 2005 Honda Civic, which had been seized as evidence, and to “blow it up to destroy any evidence that may be in the vehicle,” the investigators wrote.
The inmates then claimed that O’Donnell wanted Collins-Smith’s ex-husband, Phil Smith, and his new wife, Mary, dead. O’Donnell wanted Smith’s death to “look like a suicide,” and they were instructed to either hang or shoot him. One of the prisoners, Shana Hembrey, said she was told to “pack a bag so it looks like Mary was in the process of leaving Mr. Smith.”
Another inmate, Cassandra Geoffrion, claimed that O’Donnell slipped her a forged suicide note under a jail cell door purporting to be from Smith. This was later confirmed by jail surveillance video.
If the inmates followed through, O’Donnell promised them gold and silver stashed away at Smith’s home as payment. “Ms. O’Donnell told Ms. Landrum that the last time Linda had the gold and silver appraised it was worth between $20,000 and $30,000,” investigators wrote.
O’Donnell has yet to be arraigned in the solicitation case and if convicted of killing Collins-Smith, she will face the death penalty.
Header image: Screengrab/ABC News/YouTube (Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell - right)