Woman captured putting knife in purse after former Arkansas senator is stabbed to death

Around Arkansas

*The video in this story is strong and may be disturbing to some viewers.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Pulaski County judge ordered Arkansas State Police to release the case file into the murder of former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith.

The order comes after KARK and other members of the media filed a lawsuit to have the file released, which is subject to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act since the case is considered closed.

State Police released a large portion of the file, which is thousands of pages, on Tuesday.

The case file includes 911 calls, made the Collins-Smith’s adult son, who found her body in June of 2019.

A report shows investigators found blood in the kitchen along with Clorox.

Investigators noted that the bottle had, what appeared to be blood smeared on the top of the nozzle.

Shortly after the body was found, state police interviewed Collins-Smith’s friend and former campaign aid Rebecca O’Donnell, who claimed that the two of them had argued over a text message not being returned quickly enough.

Troopers were able to retrieve Collins-Smith’s home security footage, which captured a woman screaming and then O’Donnell putting a large knife in a purse.

Detectives say O’Donnell took Collins-Smith’s home security cameras but forgot to delete some of the video.

Hours after the murder, a nighttime video outside the home captured someone hiding under a white sheet going back into the home.

O’Donnell plead guilty and is now serving 50 years in a state prison.

She is in the state’s interstate compact program, meaning she’s in another state but her location cannot be made available to the public.

Detectives had suggested that the motive for Collins-Smith’s murder centers around money, with affidavits showing O’Donnell, forged the signature of Collins-Smith numerous times while filling out checks.

O’Donnell is also convicted in a murder-for-hire plot.

Documents show she tried to hire inmates to kill the judge in her case, prosecutors and Collins-Smith’s former husband.

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