The fiancé of the woman accused of killing former Arkansas Sen. Linda Collins said in a nationally televised interview Wednesday that she “isn’t capable” of doing so as details about the killing remained scant.
Police arrested 48-year-old Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell a week after authorities found the body of Collins, 57, at her home near Pocahontas on June 4. O’Donnell's fiancé Tim Loggains appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and maintained O'Donnell's innocence, saying that her arrest was erroneous.
A former campaign aide and close friend of Collins, O'Donnell faces a capital murder charge, abuse of a corpse and hindering physical evidence in connection with the former Republican’s death.
“She’s not capable of this,” he said. “Either she is the best actress in the world and completely fooled me or there’s not a chance she did this.”
Loggains declined to comment to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette following O’Donnell’s court appearance last week. His phone number restricted incoming calls.
The family of Collins said in a statement following O’Donnell’s arrest that they were “sickened and upset that someone so close to Linda, would be involved in such a terrible, heartless crime.”
Ken Yang, Collins' former communications director, said Wednesday it’s Loggains’ prerogative to defend his fiancée. But a deeper concern he pointed to has been the limited release of details surrounding Collins’ death and the charges against O’Donnell.
A Randolph County Circuit judge sealed key information about the case, including law enforcement records, medical reports and other material detailing why authorities believe O’Donnell killed her friend.
“The public’s getting kind of antsy by the authorities’ unbearable silence,” Yang said.
Local prosecutors argued that “prejudicial pretrial publicity” would upend their ability to find a trial jury.
State police spokesman Bill Sadler said the homicide investigation is still “very active,” but the agency won’t release further details outside of another arrest.
“We’re not going to discuss any element of that investigation prior to adjudication,“ he said. “We just don’t do that.”
Authorities arrested O’Donnell about a week after they identified Collins' body. According to Loggains, the arrest happened while they were driving to her memorial service.
Loggains said in the interview that he believes his fiancée was the last person to see Collins alive in late May.
He described their relationship as very close and similar to sisters. O’Donnell had been a witness in Collins’ divorce and worked on her re-election campaign. Collins lost in a 2018 GOP primary after serving in the House and eventually the Senate since 2011.
Loggains leads a gun rights group advocates for the permitless carry of handguns and appeared several times with Collins at the Capitol arguing for those policies.
He had been granted power of attorney over Collins and oversaw her financial dealings. “Linda needed the help,” he said in the interview. “I never made a nickel off of helping Linda do any of that.”
The Democrat-Gazette has requested court documents naming a power of attorney.
A judge ordered O’Donnell await trial in jail after revoking her bond last week.