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Police to pack
funeral service for officer slain by Massachusetts teen

Police to pack
funeral service for officer slain by Massachusetts teen

The funeral for Gassville, Ark., police officer James Sell is likely to be remembered in Baxter County as one of the largest ever. "It's one of the largest for years at least," said Scott Thrasher, assistant chief of the 10-person Gassville police department. Over 1,000 law enforcement officers from at least two dozen states and a procession of 300 to 400 police cars were expected for the service Friday at a church in Mountain Home. Sell, 63, was killed Saturday after he pulled over Jacob Robida, 18, wanted for a hatchet-and-gun attack at a gay bar in New Bedford, Mass. State flags were to fly at half-staff on Friday in honor of the slain officer. The shooting in Gassville sparked a furious 20-mile chase that ended when Robida's car crashed after spike strips blew out two tires. The teen killed a passenger, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, of Charleston, W.Va., and then himself as police fired on the car, officials said. Sell's funeral was set for 1 p.m. Friday at the East Side Baptist Church in Mountain Home. The church hall holds about 880 people, and Thrasher said it looked like it would be standing room only. Sheriff John Montgomery said about 1,000 officers were expected from agencies in 25 to 30 states, and between 300 and 400 police cars driven by the visitors would make up a procession escorting the hearse down Main Street from the church to Baxter Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Mountain Home. Sell worked in the Blytheville police department for 30 years, retiring as a captain. He joined the Gassville department on October 13, 2003. In New Bedford, Robida's hometown and the place he fled after the attack, deputy chief of police David A. Provencher had said he and Mayor Scott W. Lang were planning to bring several officers to Mountain Home for the funeral. Robida's body was released to his mother Wednesday, J.R. Howard, executive director of the Arkansas State Crime Lab, said Thursday. Robida's mother, Stephanie Mary Oliver, did not reply to a message left at her New Bedford home. Bailey's body was released to her family Tuesday, Howard said. Police were still investigating whether Bailey went with Robida willingly. (AP)

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