Woman arrested in death of ex-Arkansas state senator


Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, speaks at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock in 2018. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Arkansas State Police say they’ve made an arrest in the homicide case of a former state senator.

Linda Collins-Smith was found dead in a Pocahontas, Arkansas home June 4. Property records show the home belonged to Collins-Smith, 57, and her ex-husband, retired Circuit Judge Philip Smith.

State police said Friday night that Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, of Pocahontas was in custody and criminal charges were pending.

Authorities said they couldn’t release further information because the investigation was at a critical point.

Collins-Smith served one term in the state House and was originally elected as a Democrat in 2010. But she switched parties and became a Republican in 2011, the year before the GOP won control of both chambers of the Legislature. She was elected to the state Senate in 2014 and was one of the most conservative lawmakers in the majority-GOP chamber. She lost re-election in the Republican primary last year.

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