After first protesting her innocence, the suspect in a murder mystery that’s gripped a small town in Arkansas has pleaded guilty to murdering her close friend, former state senator Linda Collins-Smith, last June and will serve 50 years in prison.
“I went to Linda’s house and I intentionally killed her and then hid the body,” Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell told a judge, ABC News reported.
O’Donnell had worked as an aide to the senator and later as an employee at one of her businesses. In 2018, she worked on Collins-Smith’s unsuccessful reelection campaign and even testified as a witness in the lawmaker’s divorce proceedings, CBS News reported.
The plea change comes a year after case prosecutors said they intended to seek the death penalty for O’Donnell if convicted. O’Donnell had initially pleaded not guilty to capital murder, but changed her plea to guilty of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. She also pleaded “no contest” to two counts of plotting a murder-for-hire while she was in custody.