A court filing in the capital murder case against Rebecca O’Donnell for the slaying of former Sen. Linda Collins lists the prosecution’s reasons for seeking a capital murder charge.
Special Prosecutor Robert Prosecutor Robert Dittrich said in a notice filed April 30 that he will argue for two aggravating circumstances necessary to support a capital murder conviction:
- That the crime was committed for preventing or avoiding arrest.
- That the crime was committed for pecuniary gain.
The filing contains no further indication of the evidence he’ll offer to support these arguments. They might be alluded to in affidavits filed under seal for earlier search warrants in the case, one of them for access to computers and digital storage devices that belonged to Collins or were used in her operation of a motel.
O’Donnell was a friend and campaign supporter of Collins. O’Donnell’s fiance, who hasn’t been charged in the case, was entrusted with financial matters by Collins, court records have indicated. Collins’ body was found in the driveway of her Pocahontas home last July. She’d been fatally stabbed. O’Donnell was arrested based in part on footage from Collins’ security video cameras. Footage stored in the cloud showed O’Donnell removing a video camera, officials have said, but they haven’t discussed what other things the cloud video might reveal. O’Donnell is charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. She is being held without bond in the Randolph County Jail.
Special Judge John Fogleman has scheduled a hearing May 21 at which the defense will challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty. The judge also will consider whether any currently sealed evidence can be publicly released. Also to come in weeks ahead are arguments about redactions of exhibits in the case, including video. The case is set for trial Oct. 19.