Ex-lawmaker's family confident in case despite recusals

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The family of a former Arkansas lawmaker found dead outside her home said Monday they're confident in the case against the woman accused of killing her, despite the prosecutor and judge being replaced.

The prosecutor handling the case against Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell, who is charged with capital murder in former state Sen. Linda Collins' death, asked to be recused from the case last week. The judge presiding over the case against O'Donnell last month was replaced after he asked that it be reassigned.

Collins, who went by Collins-Smith in the Legislature, was found dead June 4 outside her home in Pocahontas, which is about 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock. O'Donnell's trial is set to begin October 19, 2019. O'Donnell has pleaded not guilty.

Collins' family says they believe the case against O'Donnell is strong, despite the recusals.

“Ultimately, we want the focus of this case to remain on bringing justice to Linda,” Collins' family said. “Our hope is that Judge (John) Fogleman will take the actions necessary to set this case back on track, and make it an urgent priority to provide transparency to the public in this case.”