Officials fail to connect gay basher to anyone in Arkansas

Posted on 25 May 2006 at 9:14pm
By Associated Press

Prosecutors suspect man responsible for hatchet attack in Massachusetts gay bar was just passing through state

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. The prosecutor investigating the slaying of a police officer by a man wanted for a hatchet attack at a Massachusetts gay bar has ended his investigation, but can’t say why Jacob Robida fled to Arkansas.

Robida, 18, shot and killed Gassville officer Jim Sell, 63, on Feb. 4 after Sell stopped Robida because his license tag didn’t match his car. Sell didn’t know Robida was suspected in a gun and hatchet attack two days before in New Bedford, Mass., in which three men were injured, according to the report by prosecutor Ron Kincaide, released Thursday.

Kincaide said Robida and a woman traveling with him, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, of Charleston, W.Va., sped away after the shooting but returned so Robida could retrieve his license.

“‘”‘He (Robida) pulled his driver’s license from Sell’s dead hand to prevent us from knowing who he was,” Kincade said.

When police caught up to Robida after a chase, he fatally shot the woman and then himself as police opened fire on the car, officials said. Kincade said he hasn’t received a ballistics report confirming Robida killed himself, but is “‘”’80 to 90 percent certain” Robida died from the self-inflicted wound.

Robida was likely passing through Arkansas as he fled from the crime, the prosecutor said.

“‘”‘There is no evidence that Robida had any contact with anyone in Arkansas,” Kincade said, adding that Robida was probably avoiding the interstate highways to keep from drawing attention to himself.

Robida switched license plates with an identical car in Kentucky, but the color of the car is listed in the vehicle registration.

“‘”‘The cars were different colors,” Kincade said. “‘”‘That’s how we knew it wasn’t the right plate.”

After Sell’s shooting in Gassville, police ran down Robida’s car about 20 miles away. Robida lost control and crashed in downtown Norfork.

Officers saw Robida and Bailey hug inside the car. Robida then shot Bailey in the head with a 9 mm pistol. Robida then shot himself, according to documents in the case.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.

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