Woman charged with murder of former Arkansas state senator

A friend of former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R) has been charged with her murder, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, was arrested Friday in connection with the shooting of the former lawmaker. She reportedly appeared in court Monday morning, wearing a black and gray jail uniform and a bulletproof vest while her hands were shackled.

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O’Donnell was charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and hindering physical evidence, the Democrat-Gazette reports.

Her initial appearance lasted about 15 minutes, and no plea was entered, according to the outlet.

Collins-Smith, 57, was reportedly found in her Pocahontas, Ark., home with a gunshot wound on June 4. It wasn’t clear how long she had been dead when her body was found, but her body was found in an "advanced state of decomposition," the Democrat-Gazette reports.

It took investigators two days to identify the body using dental records, prosecuting attorney Henry Boyce wrote in a statement.

Collins-Smith served in the state House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013, switching parties from Democrat to Republican during her first term. She later represented District 19 in the Arkansas state Senate but lost a reelection bid in 2018.

She was one of two former state lawmakers to be found dead within a week.

Police found Oklahoma state Sen. Jonathan Nichols (R) fatally shot after responding to reports of gunfire.

The incidents are not thought to be connected.