‘What the heck is going on?’ Second former Republican state senator killed at home this week

Screengrab Linda Collins-Smith

Two former Republican lawmakers were killed on their property this week and given that the crimes scenes are 450 miles apart, it may be a bit early to panic, one can only imagine the response in this country if they were Democrats.

As it is, the crimes are receiving little more than scant attention.

Jonathan Nichols, 53, a former Oklahoma state senator was found dead inside his home in Norman on Wednesday night from an apparent gunshot wound, his death coming on the heels of former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, 56, was found fatally shot outside her house in Pocahontas on Tuesday.

According to AOL News, Collins-Smith’s death is being investigated as a homicide, while police in Oklahoma are working with the medical examiner’s office on the exact cause and manner of Nichols’ death.

It’s being reported in the local news that the prosecutor issued a gag-order on the case involving Collins-Smith, restricting information and comments from being released to the public.

Collins-Smith’s body had decomposed considerably and it’s not known how long she had been dead when her body was found, although it’s being reported that neighbors said they had heard gunshots a day or two earlier.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted his condolences upon learning of his fellow Republican’s death.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of Linda Collins-Smith’s passing,” he tweeted. “She was a passionate leader who loved northeast Arkansas. I wish her friends and family comfort during this tragic time.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson released a statement offering his sympathies.

“I’m both stunned and saddened by the death of former State Senator Linda Collins-Smith,” Hutchinson said, according to KATV. “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.”

Nichols, a former Cleveland County assistant district attorney, had been serving as a policy adviser to Oklahoma Republican House Speaker Charles McCall when he died, according to The Oklahoman.

“I am shocked and incredibly saddened to learn that Jonathan has passed away,” McCall told the paper in a statement. “He was a valuable member of my staff and a friend. Jonathan was a very proud man, but he served humbly.”

Law enforcement sources told The Oklahoman that Nichols’ body was found in his home and a gun was on a table across the room.

It’s all enough to make folks wonder, “What the heck is going on?”

It’s much too early to be jumping to conclusions, and there’s nothing that has been reported that would give Republicans cause for concern.

But considering that Arkansas is the Clintons’ old stomping grounds, some social media users wasted no time exploring a possible link.

Tom Tillison

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