POCAHONTAS – The woman accused of killing former Sen. Linda Collins pleaded guilty to her murder Thursday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
Judge John Fogleman sentenced O’Donnell to 50 years total in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Fogleman also ruled that all case documents that were under seal will be made public and should be available by Aug. 13.
As part of her guilty plea, both the prosecution and defense attorneys agreed for O’Donnell’s charges to be changed from capital murder to murder in the first degree. O’Donnell was sentenced to 40 years for murder in the first degree and three years for abuse of a corpse.
For her charges in Jackson County involving her solicitation to have Collins’ former husband and his wife killed along with the former prosecutor and judge in the case, Collins pleaded no contest to two counts and was sentenced to seven years on each count to run consecutively. Fogleman said the plea will be treated the same as a guilty plea.
O’Donnell admitted to stabbing Collins to death in court this morning as well as attempting to conceal the body
“I went to Linda’s house, and I intentionally killed her and then hid the body,” O’Donnell told Judge Fogleman.
Both O’Donnell and families present at the hearing remained calm as little emotion was shown. Fogleman said today’s hearing concludes the case.
Collins’ body was discovered by her family on June 4, 2019, at her home on Hwy 90 West in Pocahontas. The body, in an advanced stage of decomposition, was found wrapped in a blanket under a tarp in her driveway. O’Donnell was arrested on June 14 while on her way to Collins’ funeral visitation and pleaded not guilty at July 30 arraignment to her charges of capital murder in the first degree, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence. In January, O’Donnell was charged with two counts of solicitation to commit capital murder and two counts of tampering with physical evidence after inmates in Jackson County came forward with allegations of murder solicitation and help in blowing up her car to destroy potential evidence.