Linda Collins’ family releases statement after changes in murder case

Prosecutor drops out of Linda Collins murder case

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - On Monday, the family of Linda Collins’ released a statement concerning the status of Linda Collins’ murder case and the recent changes:

“Due to the changes last week, we felt the need to make a public statement in regard to the status of the murder case of our mother, Linda Collins. We continue to feel very confident in the work the Arkansas State Police and the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department have done in the investigation of this case. We want to stress that the case brought by the State against the woman accused is strong, regardless of those who have recused from this case. Ultimately, we want the focus of this case to remain on bringing justice to Linda. Our hope is that Judge Fogleman will take the actions necessary to set this case back on track, and make it an urgent priority to provide transparency to the public in this case. Thank you all for your continued thoughts, prayers, and privacy to our family as the case moves forward.”
Linda Collins’ family

Henry Boyce, the prosecuting attorney in the case of a woman accused of killing former State Senator Linda Collins, has dropped out of the proceedings.

“Henry Boyce has moved to be relieved as Prosecuting Attorney,” according to a three-sentence order signed Wednesday by the new judge, John Fogleman. “The Motion for Withdrawal is hereby granted.”

The move comes a week after Judge David Goodson, who was assigned as the special judge to oversee the case, asked the state Supreme Court to replace him.

Chief Justice John Dan Kemp signed the order and assigned Fogelman to hear the case.

New judge assigned to Linda Collins murder case, as questions over detention emerge

Boyce’s assistant reportedly said the prosecutor had no comment. Court officials said Boyce’s request to the judge was verbal, so no written record is available.

It is worth noting that the original judge in the case, Judge Harold Erwin announced his retirement in 2019 and Erwin, and then Judge Tom Garner recused themselves because they served in the same circuit with Collins’ ex-husband, Phil Smith, who is retired from the bench. Henry Boyce announced he was seeking the District Judge, Division 15 position back in May 2019.

Rebecca O’Donnell is charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence in Collins’ death.

Prosecutors have said they would seek the death penalty.

Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Linda Collins murder case

On Friday, Nov. 22, a judge ordered her pre-trial hearing to be held on Feb. 28 with her trial scheduled to begin on Oct. 19.

The following week, jailers placed O’Donnell under the strictest detention protocols despite officials saying she had been a model prisoner.

Her fiance, Tim Loggains, said the family had been told O’Donnell was on “investigative status” and was not allowed any visits, phone calls, or contact with anyone other than her attorneys.

Linda-Collins Smith was found dead at her home on June 4, 2019. (Source: Twitter)
Linda-Collins Smith was found dead at her home on June 4, 2019. (Source: Twitter) (Source: Twitter)

Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas told ABC that the Arkansas State Police had requested the administrative lockdown on O’Donnell, which includes restricting visits.

A day after ABC News reported the change, the sheriff lifted the restrictions.

O’Donnell has pleaded not guilty.

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