Within a span of roughly 48-hours two former Republican State Senators were found dead of gunshot wounds — and perhaps even more astounding within neighboring states.
GOP State Senators Linda Collins-Smith from Arkansas and Jonathan Nichols from Oklahoma were both shot to death, and in the Collins-Smith shooting the police have ruled her death a homicide.
The 57-year old legislator from Pocahontas, Arkansas was shot outside her home at around 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday. Pocahontas is about 130 miles northeast Little Rock.
Police reported the victim had been wrapped in a blanket, potentially ruling out suicide.
Collins-Smith was originally a Democrat before switching over to Republican.
According to the Arkansas Times, the former lawmaker was a Democrat and a one-term member of the Arkansas House of Representatives; she switched party affiliation after 8-months in office in 2011, she went on to win her senate seat in 2015 representing the 19th district until January 2019.
She was a member of the following organizations: Gun Owners of America, Arkansas Hospitality Association, National Federation of Independent Business, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, Randolph County Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Arkansas Lodging Association, Lower Mississippi Delta Development Council, and the Arkansas Federation of Republican Women. Linda was also proud to be the founder of the Randolph County Tourism Association and a supporter of the Patriots of Act 746, in Arkansas.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was shocked to hear the news of her death
“She was a good person who served in the public arena with passion and conviction. The first lady and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time.”
The former lawmaker is survived by her father, Benny Collins, of Pocahontas; son, Butch (Jennifer) Smith, of Pocahontas; daughter, Heather Tate (John) Williams, of Bryant; sister, Kathy Franks, of Arkansas; and grandchildren, Reese Williams, of Bryant, Brayden Smith, of Pocahontas, and Jackson Smith, of Pocahontas.
In Oklahoma former State Senator Jonathan Nichols was found dead two days after the apparent murder of Collins-Smith, also from a gunshot wound in his home in Norman, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City.
Authorities thus far haven’t ruled anything out, other to confirm that a gun was on a table near Nichols’ body.
“Investigators are currently working with the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office to determine the exact cause and manner of death,” the Norman Police Department said.
Nichols 53, served as a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 2001 to 2013 and was also an Assistant District Attorney.
House Speaker Charles McCall upon hearing the death of Nicholas, said:
“I am shocked and incredibly saddened to learn that Jonathan has passed away.”
Adding, “He was a valuable member of my staff and a friend. Jonathan was a very proud man, but he served humbly.”
Nicholas also served as chief of staff for former Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman and Pro Tem Mike Schulz. Before that, he was appointed to serve as vice president of governmental relations at the University of Oklahoma.
State Sen. Rob Standridge, a Republican who represents Nichols old district, called him “the most brilliant political, legal mind in the Oklahoma State Legislature” who “worked tirelessly as a senator and for years on staff to help guide our state forward.”
Thus far, authorities have not provided additional details on their deaths. Investigations are underway in both states.
Obviously the death of two GOP lawmakers suffering fatal gunshot wounds, with one more then likely a homicide raises some serious questions, even more, bizarre then the timing only days apart, is the location of the two deaths.