After the resignation of Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce from the Linda Collins-Smith murder case, a new prosecutor has been assigned.
Late last week, Robert Dittrich of Stuttgart, who was the elected prosecuting attorney in the 11th-East District for 34 years, was assigned the case Friday in a court order, according to KAIT 8 News.
He will prosecute the case against Rebecca O’Donnell, who is accused of murdering Collins-Smith, a former State Senator, last June.
Dittrich did not seek re-election in 2018 and has worked as a deputy prosecutor in Pine Bluff since then, but he is set to retire on Dec. 31.
Boyce resigned earlier this month.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has also assigned a new judge to oversee the murder trial of O’Donnell.
The state’s highest court in November assigned Second Judicial Circuit Judge John Fogleman to preside over the case. He replaces Judge David Goodson, who was assigned as the special judge overseeing the case.
Rebecca Lynn (Becky) O’Donnell, 48, has been charged with Collin-Smith’s murder after her body was found at her Pocahontas-area home in early June. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case. O’Donnell had reportedly been a campaign aide and business manager for the victim. Authorities have released few details in the high-profile case, which has also been under a judicial gag order.
Collins-Smith, a former state representative and senator, had been married to former Judge Phil Smith. The couple was involved in a divorce at the time of the murder. Several judges and now Boyce, who all had worked with Judge Smith in some capacity, have been removed from the case.
O’Donnell’s trial is slated to begin Oct. 19, 2020.