There’s been much speculation about a post we released and then removed several hours later about the release of an affadavit in the arrest of Rebecca O’Donnell, who’s been charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and hindering physical evidence in the murder of ex-senator Linda Collins.
To help quell some of that, I can say…
A Times staffer inadvertently published a draft post written weeks earlier by Max Brantley in the expectation of the release of the affidavit, given that it had gone to the judge and O’Donnell’s defense team.
Brantley, who is on vacation, had no role in the publication. He said the details of the erroneously released post were based on information circulating, but were unsubstantiated, which is why the draft had not been published.
We did not receive a copy of the affidavit from Prosecutor Henry Boyce or anyone else.
The inadvertent publication of the draft happened during an audit of post presentations. Our staffer merely clicked the wrong button.
Brantley has worked on vacation before, so, for several hours, the rest of the editorial team thought he’d managed a scoop from afar.
We regret the error and are working to tighten our procedures to avoid similar mistakes in the future.