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A former Republican Oklahoma state senator was found dead in his home on Wednesday — the second unexpected death of a state legislator in two days.
Police found the body of former state Sen. Jonathan Nichols on Wednesday in his home in Norman, Oklahoma, Fox News reported.
“Based on officers that arrived on scene, it was clear there was an apparent gunshot wound,” Norman Police Department public information officer Sarah Jensen said, according to KFOR.
“This individual was a public servant in the Norman community, served not only with the District Attorney’s office but also as a legislator.”
A statement from Norman police said, “Investigators are currently working with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the exact cause and manner of death.”
Nichols, 53, served in the Oklahoma Senate from 2000 to 2012.
Earlier this week, the body of former Republican State Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, 57, was found in her home in Pocahontas, Arkansas, KATV reported.
Ken Yang, Collins-Smith’s former press secretary, said the death is being treated as a homicide.
Neighbors reportedly heard gunshots either one or two days before Collins-Smith was found dead, Yang told KATV.
The former legislator’s body was wrapped in a blanket when it was discovered, KATV reported.
No further details on her death have been released at this time.
Collins-Smith, a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party in 2011, represented the 19th district of Arkansas from 2014 until losing in the 2019 primary.
Both legislators were mourned by their colleagues.
"Jonathan Nichols was my dear friend and neighbor. He was a quiet, highly effective servant of the people. He distinguished himself in his ability to work across the aisle to try and make lives better." — @GaddieWindage https://t.co/Xv1UgWemGs #OUDNA #okleg
— NonDoc (@nondocmedia) June 6, 2019
“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,” said Sen. Rob Standridge, who succeeded Nichols, according to CNN.
“I am shocked and incredibly saddened to learn that Jonathan has passed away. He was a valuable member of my staff and a friend. Jonathan was a very proud man, but he served humbly,” Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall, for whom Nichols was working at the time of his death, said in a statement.
The Arkansas Republican Party praised Collins-Smith as “a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family. We are praying for her loved ones during this difficult time.”
Today, we learned of the untimely death of former Senator Linda Collins Smith. She was a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family. We are praying for her loved ones during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/uOg76yd6dF
— Arkansas GOP (@ARGOP) June 5, 2019
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed his condolences over Collins-Smith’s 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,” Hutchinson said.