Former state Republican senators shot dead in Arkansas, Oklahoma

by WorldTribune Staff, June 9, 2019

Two former Republican state senators, one Oklahoma and another in Arkansas, were found dead from gunshot wounds in just over 24 hours.

Police confirmed on June 6 that 53-year-old Jonathan Nichols was found dead at his property in west Norman, Oklahoma at about 8.44 p.m. on June 5. A gun was on a table in the same room, law enforcement sources told The Oklahoman.

Jonathan Nichols and Linda Collins-Smith

Nichols, also a former Assistant District Attorney — served as a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 2001 to 2013.

On June 4, the body of 56-year-old former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith was found at her property in Randolph County.

On June 6, Arkansas State Police announced that a homicide investigation was underway with the Randolph County Sherriff’s Department.

It’s not clear when Collins-Smith died as her remains were decomposed and a judge imposed a gag order on the release of all documents associated with the murder investigation.

Collins-Smith served in the Arkansas Senate from January 2015 to January 2019. She had previously served one term in the Arkansas House.

In 2017, Collins-Smith introduced the Arkansas Physical Privacy and Safety Act, a “bathroom bill” that would have required people to only use the bathroom that corresponded to the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Investigators are currently working with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the exact cause and manner of Nichols’ death, said Norman Police Department public information officer Sarah Jensen.

Jensen would not confirm or deny the report about a gun being found in the room with Nichols “based on the ongoing investigation.” She added to the information was not released or confirmed through her agency.

Norman police said there are no suspects and there have been no arrests in the Nichols case.

Nichols’ successor Sen. Rob Standridge, said Nichols “touched every aspect of my life” and he’ll “miss him dearly,” reported.

“Senator Jonathan Nichols was the most brilliant political, legal mind in the Oklahoma State Legislature, and worked tirelessly as a senator and for years on staff to help guide our state forward. Jonathan was a great friend, a mentor, a confidant, and was always there for me in whatever situation I was in,” Standridge said in a statement.

In the Arkansas case, Collins-Smith’s neighbors reported hearing gunshots a day or two before her body was discovered wrapped in a blanket, according to Arkansas Times.

On her Facebook page, Collin-Smith described herself as a conservative and listed some of the issues she considered most important to her: “God, Family, Veterans, Guns, Patriot & Country.”

Collins-Smith was married to former Circuit Court Judge Philip Smith. The couple divorced in 2018.

She was reportedly working with the Department of Homeland Security to expose a missing $27million from DHS/Child Protective Services in her state.

Collins-Smith was also the owner of Days Inn and Suites in Pocahontas.

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