For those following the unveiling of the case against Rebecca O’Donnell, 49, for the May 28, 2019, fatal stabbing of former Sen. Linda Collins, here’s a newly released key document.

Under a Freedom of Information Act request, I have received from the State Police the affidavit presented to a court that led to issuance a warrant for O’Donnell’s arrest on June 14, 2019. A redacted version of the document was released at an O’Donnell court appearance in July 2019. It indicated evidence included images from security video cameras in Collins’ Pocahontas home. The redacted version did not include the fact that there were also images of O’Donnell holding a knife and blood-smeared purse. That information has become available in recent days from a variety of court documents, first in filings in the murder-for-hire case in Jackson County, which arose while O’Donnell was being held in that county.

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For the record, here’s the affidavit:

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This wasn’t the end of the investigation. Investigators worked for weeks compiling a web of evidence from cell phones, computers and Internet accounts. Numerous warrants and returns on evidence found in the searches are slowly being added to the Randolph Circuit Court record now that O’Donnell has pleaded guilty to the murder and no-contest to charges that she tried to hire people to kill others connected to the case and destroy evidence.

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The record released so far includes a statement from O’Donnell that she’d forged Collins’ signature on checks drawn on Collins’ accounts. The special prosecutor has said he’d have proved pecuniary gain as a motive for the original capital murder charge. To date, the public documents aren’t specific about what O’Donnell might have taken, though one warrant says Collins’ missing cell phone sent a signal from O’Donnell’s home in Biggers the evening of the murder. Then its signal ceased, the phone having been destroyed or otherwise disposed of.

Contrary to O’Donnell’s initial statement to investigators mentioned in the affidavit, Colins’ family believes the women’s confrontation was over Collins’ discovery that O’Donnell had been stealing from her and O’Donnell killed her to silence her. An effort was made to erase security videos from Collins’ account early May 29. Statements gathered by investigators indicate O’Donnell had been seen driving up to Collins’ June 3, the day before her son found his mother’s decomposed body wrapped in a comforter and placed under a tarp on the driveway.

 

 

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