Pre-trial hearing rescheduled in O’Donnell capital murder case

Pre-trial hearing rescheduled in murder case

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - A pre-trial hearing to address motions by attorneys for a Randolph County woman accused of killing a former state Senator have been rescheduled until June 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to online court records.

Retired Circuit Judge John Fogleman filed a rescheduling order Friday in the case involving Rebecca O’Donnell in Randolph County Circuit Court.

O’Donnell was arrested in 2019 in connection with the murder of former state Senator Linda Collins. O’Donnell was also arrested in Jackson County earlier this year on suspicion of solicitation to commit capital murder after authorities alleged O’Donnell tried to solicit inmates at the Jackson County jail to kill Collins’ former husband, Phil Smith; Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce and Circuit Judge Harold Erwin.

In the one-page filing, Fogleman cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for the continuance.

“The court orders that the hearing scheduled for May 21, 2020, be continued and the hearing rescheduled in view of the ongoing health problems surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Fogleman said in the filing.

Fogleman said in the filing that the June 12 pretrial hearing will address O’Donnell’s motions contesting the constitutionality of the death penalty and “any other time sensitive issues that have arisen since our last hearing. Both parties are required to review a list of sealed warrants, affidavits and returns prepared by this Court. The parties shall discuss whether they agree or disagree with unsealing any of the listed documents."

Prosecutors alleged earlier this month in a court filing that they planned to show evidence at trial that the capital murder was committed “for the purpose of avoiding or preventing an arrest or effecting an escape from custody; and the Capital murder was committed for pecuniary gain.”

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