Former campaign staffer arrested in connection with shooting death of ex-state senator

Arkansas State Police has arrested a former campaign staffer in connection with this month’s shooting death of former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, according to reports.

Police identified the suspect as Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 48, of Pocahontas, Ark., and said that criminal charges were pending, but did not say whether they were seeking any other suspects in Collins’ death.

Randolph County sheriff confirmed that this photo is of Linda Collins-Smith (left) and suspect Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell. 

Arkansas State Police have not released the connection between O’Donnell and Collin-Smith but a former communications director for the former Republican state senator told Little Rock’s KTHV-TV that O’Donnell had worked on Collins-Smith’s most recent campaign and the two were friends.

No further details about the circumstances of the arrest, or a possible motive, were immediately available. Arkansas police said the investigation is ongoing.

Collins-Smith, 57, was found dead at her home in Pocahontas. Authorities have released few details about the killing and haven’t said how or when exactly the ex-lawmaker was killed.

A judge last week granted a request by prosecutors to seal documents and statements obtained by police during the probe.

Collins-Smith’s funeral is set for Saturday morning in Pocahontas. Collins’ two adult children and father said earlier this week that they were saddened and angered by the killing.

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