Trial date set for suspect in 2011 murder of Cabot woman

The trial for a 48-year-old Vilonia man, accused in the 2011 murder of a Cabot woman, has been set for October.

William Nickels Collins appeared in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Tuesday where a final pre-trial hearing to address any final motions was set for 9 a.m. Sept. 20, and his trial was set for Oct. 22-25 before Circuit Judge Ed Clawson.

Collins is accused of killing 24-year-old Carissa Downey, whose remains were reportedly found March 20, 2011, in a trash bag near Judsonia in White County.

Collins's wife, Bonnie Collins, was charged in the case in 2011, but prosecution entered a nolle prosequi due to lack of evidence, according to court documents.

William Collins was initially arrested during a search of his residence for the purpose of collecting evidence involving the homicide of Downey, authorities said in 2011.

While searching the residence, authorities found what was believed to be methamphetamine and arrested the two occupants of the home. Jeffrey Michael Lee Burdick and Collins were charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Court documents show Collins pleaded guilty to the charges.

Collins is represented in the murder trial by Deputy Public Defender Stephen Ralph.

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