by Karen Sherrell
Charges have been upgraded on Jennifer Lea Collins for the second time in three months, following an autopsy of her victim.
According to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tom Garner, charges have been upgraded from battery first degree to murder second degree, in the case of an elderly woman being attacked by her caregiver, Collins, and subsequently dying.
Collins, according to the affidavit of arrest in the case, had attacked 92 year old Jane Sandefur, at her home in Cherokee Village. Collins had been hired as a caregiver for Sandefur. The victim sustained serious injuries to her face, arms, legs and chest, all from being bitten. Collins smelled of alcohol, according to the affidavit, and was not making any sense in answering questions or making statements to officers.
Collins has additionally been charged with abuse of endangered or impaired person, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. Charges were filed on August 16.
Collins, age 55 of Mammoth Spring, has been incarcerated at the Sharp County Jail since the crime on May 11. According to court orders, Collins, through her attorney, has requested simultaneous fitness to proceed and criminal responsibility examinations. The Director of the Division of Behavioral Health Services of the DHS will determine who will examine Collins, who intends to rely on the defense of mental disease or defect.
Collins is facing a minimum six years up to 30 years on the charge of second degree murder.
Attorney R.T. Starken of Cherokee Village is representing Collins in the case.
Proseucting Attorney Henry Boyce stated, “After carefully reviewing the evidence in this case including a review of the autopsy and consultation with the Crime Lab Medical Examiner, I decided that the upgrade in charges was warranted.”


CHEROKEE VILLAGE – An elderly woman was hospitalized following an attack by her caregiver, on Thursday, May 11.
The victim, Jane Sandefur, reportedly was attacked by her caregiver, Jennifer Lea Collins, age 55. Sandefur’s son, Scott Sandefur, arrived at the home of his mother, and found her on the floor in a pool of blood, according to the police affidavit of arrest. Officers with the Cherokee Village Police Department received a call to assist the ambulance personnel on the scene.
The affidavit read, “The son told Officer Dunlap that he had hired Collins to take care of his mom. The victim appeared to have part of her chin bitten off, she had also been bitten on the face, hand, arm, leg, and the nipple of the victim’s left breast had been bitten off.” Officers on the scene noted blood on the Collins’ mouth. Both Sandefur and Collins were transported to White River Emergency in Cherokee Village.
Collins smelled of alcohol, according to the affidavit, and was not making any sense in answering questions or making statements. Cherokee Village Police Chief Rickey E. Crook obtained a verbal search warrant to draw a sample of Collins’ blood, and it will be sent to the Crime Lab in Little Rock for analysis.
At this time, Collins is incarcerated at Sharp County Jail, pending charges of aggravated assault and abuse of an endangered or impaired person.