Special Judge John Fogleman has filed an order setting out the schedule for the capital murder trial of Rebecca O’Donnell, accused in the June 2019 slaying of former Republican Sen. Linda Collins of Pocahontas.
Some of the key dates in the order filed last week:
All discovery evidence, including the state’s ground for aggravating circumstances to justify the death penalty, must be submitted by April 28.
May 21, the court will hear defense arguments that the death penalty is unconstitutional.
That day, the court will also hear arguments on whether parties agree or disagree with the unsealing of warrants, affidavits and warrant returns in the case. Very little of the underlying facts of the case are known, except that Collins was believed fatally stabbed and left on the driveway of her home. Also, footage recovered from home security cameras led to the arrest of O’Donnell, a friend and campaign supporter of Collins over the years.
Other deadlines include a final pre-trial hearing Sept. 18. It will cover such matters as what questions the parties would like the judge to ask prospective jurors during the selection process. The trial is set in Pocahontas Oct. 19.
O’Donnell also faces charges filed subsequently in Jackson County that allege she tried to hire inmates at the jail where she was being held to kill various actors in the case and to destroy evidence. That case is currently set for trial in December.