New prosecutor named in Linda Collins capital murder case

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Since Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce resigned from the capital murder case of former state Sen. Linda Collins, there has been much speculation on who would take his place.

The answer was resolved late last week when a Stuttgart attorney with over 30 years of prosecutorial experience was assigned the case. He is Robert Dittrich, and he will be the lead prosecutor in the case against Rebecca O’Donnell (pictured above, right, with Collins in a file photo), 48, who is the only person charged in the murder.

Very few details have been released on the case. O’Donnell was said to be a close friend, campaign aide, and business manager for Collins.

Known at the time as Linda Collins-Smith, she served the 10th State Senatorial District which includes Independence, Stone, Izard, Sharp, and parts of Fulton and Randolph counties. She was defeated in the last election by current State Sen. James Sturch.

Authorities say Collins was murdered at her home in Pocahontas. Her body was found outside the home on June 4, 2019. The State Medical Examiner ruled the murder as death by stabbing.

Collins had been married to a former circuit judge in the Third District, Phil Smith. The couple was in the midst of a divorce at the time of the murder.

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