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Former aide is sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder of Republican Senator Linda Collins

A woman was just sentenced to fifty years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of a Republican state senator from Arkansas for whom she worked.

Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse one year after former Arkansas state Senator Linda Collins was found dead from multiple stab wounds outside her home, according to Fox News [1]. O’Donnell has also been accused of trying to get her fellow inmates in prison to kill Collins’ ex-husband and others.

“No amount of punishment will ever fill that void that Rebecca O’Donnell made in our lives the day she killed our mother,” Tate Williams, Collins’ daughter, said after sentencing. “Today we find some shred of peace that Rebecca O’Donnell will be put away in prison for a very long time, unable to hurt anyone else.”

Prosecutors said back in April that O’Donnell had killed Collins for money and to avoid being arrested. They added that she never provided a motive for the murder. They had initially said last year that they would be seeking the death penalty, but O’Donnell ended up taking a plea deal that involved a fifty-year sentence.

“The plea deal was not what my first choice would have been, but at least we do have a guaranteed amount of time that she will be imprisoned for and we will have the ability as the victim’s family to argue against her release at her parole hearings,” said Collins’ son, Butch Smith, who discovered his mother’s body on June 4, 2019.

Collins was initially elected to the Arkansas state House as a Democrat back in 2010, but she switched parties and became a Republican a year later. She went on to be elected to the state Senate as a Republican in 2014, becoming one of the most conservative lawmakers in the majority-GOP chamber.

O’Donnell was a staffer on Collins’ unsuccessful reelection campaign in 2018 and served as a witness in the former lawmaker’s divorce proceedings that same year.