William Nickels Collins, the accused in the 2011 murder of a Cabot woman, entered a nolo contendere plea to a reduced charged of first-degree battery in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Thursday.
Collins was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and will not be eligible for parole due to a prior conviction of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan.
Collins was originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of 24-year-old Carissa Downey. The woman’s remains were found March 20, 2011, in a trash bag near Judsonia in White County.
Bonnie Collins, the wife of William Collins, was originally charged in the murder, but prosecution entered a nolle prosequi due to lack of evidence.
The prosecutor’s report, included in the sentencing order, states Collins was involved in a physical altercation with Downey at his home in Faulkner County. During the altercation, Collins caused "serious physical injury to Ms. Downey, namely he struck her in the chest, which caused broken bones," the report states.
Collins was scheduled for trial Oct. 22-25.
First-degree battery, a class B felony, is punishable by up to five to 20 years in prison, and a $15,000 fine.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories, log on to thecabin.net.)