LINDA COLLINS: Settlement reported in late former senator’s divorce appeal.

The children of former Sen. Linda Collins, who are heirs to her estate, and her ex-husband, retired Judge Phil Smith, have reached a settlement of property division in her divorce, a contentious case that had drawn attention after Collins’ slaying at her Pocahontas home.

Collins was found stabbed to death under a covering outside her Pocahontas home June 4. A friend and campaign supporter, Becky O’Donnell, has been charged with capital murder in the case. Little has been said about what prompted the slaying, but State Police have said the case was built in part on evidence from Collins’ home security camera.


At the time of her death, Collins, formerly known as Collins-Smith, had an appeal pending of the property settlement in her recent divorce from Phil Smith. Disclosure: My wife, retired Judge Ellen Brantley, heard the divorce case on special assignment after recusal of local judges.

The divorce case was noted after Collins’ death because of the dispute between the former senator and her ex-husband and because contested issues outlined in the record of the case included handling of a substantial tax refund Collins had received, but which Smith had not known about.  Tim Loggains, who said he had a power of attorney to handle financial matters for Collins, had attempted to deposit the money and get cashier’s checks in return. Loggains is O’Donnell’s boyfriend. He has not been charged and in public statements has said he believes O’Donnell, who is jailed without bond, is innocent.


Collins’ death complicated the divorce appeal. A delay in briefing was granted by the court of appeals until Sept. 12. That day, Smith’s attorney said in a status report that he thought a settlement was likely, but he didn’t have a signed agreement to that effect from the estate.

Today, a motion was filed by Collins’ son, Butch Smith, administrator of her estate, asking that he be substituted as the party in the divorce case appeal. He and his sister, Heather Williams, are heirs. The motion, by the estate’s attorney Danny Crabtree, said all parties had reached agreement and asked that the divorce appeal be dismissed.


The motion included the specifics of the property division. The agreement acknowledges the lower court order, but said in the interest of “finality and closure” the parties had agreed to “globally settle” claims.

As in the lower court order, some property, or the money from sale of properties, would go to Collins (now the estate’s heirs) and some to Smith. Some of the proceeds of property sales would go first to satisfy a monetary judgment for Smith in the lower court order. Smith would receive $143,185, comprising $108,068 owed to him under the lower court order; $8,500 for his attorney fees; $2,000 in payments Smith made on a Ford 150; $14,616 for Collins’ credit card charges, and $10,000 representing the value of missing gold and silver bullion.