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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Attacked three patrons at a New Bedford gay bar
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: February 4, 2006
Date of birth: June 13, 1987
Victims profile: Jim Sell, 63 (Gassville police officer) / Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33 (his female companion)
Method of murder: Shooting (9mm handgun)
Location: Massachusetts/Arkansas, USA
Status: He was shot in the head twice in a shootout with police. He died in a hospital in Springfield, Missouri on February 5, 2006
photo gallery

Jacob D. Robida (June 13, 1987 – February 5, 2006) was a Massachusetts teenager who attacked three patrons at a New Bedford gay bar on February 2, 2006. He fled the state and drove to Charleston, West Virginia, where he allegedly kidnapped a female companion and drove southward, attempting to cross the Mexican border. He was halted by authorities in Norfork, Arkansas, where he murdered his female companion and a police officer. He was shot in the head twice in a shootout with police.

He died in a hospital in Springfield, Missouri at 03:38 CST on February 5, 2006.

Accusations and manhunt

In the early hours of Thursday, February 2, 2006, eighteen year-old Jacob Robida allegedly entered a gay bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts, fifty miles (93 km) south of Boston. The teenager, dressed in black, entered the Puzzles Lounge, a popular local bar, around midnight.

Robida proceeded to order a drink using a fake ID which indicated his age was twenty-three. After downing his first drink, he asked the bartender if the lounge was a gay bar. The bartender confirmed that it was. After finishing his second drink, Robida allegedly swung a hatchet at a patron's head, injuring him. Other patrons tackled him and relieved him of the hatchet, whereupon Robida produced a handgun and began shooting, wounding at least three more people.

Robida then fled the scene; both the hatchet and a machete were later recovered by authorities in the bar. Robida was then wanted on three counts of attempted murder. Police treated the incident as a hate crime. In total, four people were seriously hurt in the attack.

Local authorities immediately began a manhunt for Robida and raided his mother's home in New Bedford. They talked to his mother, who told them that she had last seen Robida at 1:00 am bleeding from the head and that he had left soon after.

They found weapons of all types, including hatchets, knives, a few handguns, as well as a shotgun. When police entered Robida's bedroom, they found "Nazi regalia" and anti-Semitic writings all over his bedroom walls, as well as a makeshift coffin.

Fearing that he may have left Massachusetts, the local authorities contacted the FBI, which sparked a nationwide manhunt. Flyers were distributed all over Massachusetts, which gave a depiction of Robida, and stated that he was driving a 1999 green Pontiac.


In the afternoon of 4 February 2006, Robida's green Pontiac was seen about 1500 miles away in Arkansas, and Jim Sell, 63, a Gassville police officer, initiated a traffic stop. After conversing with the officer for about half a minute, Robida opened fire with a 9mm handgun, killing the officer.

Police pursued him and laid spike traps, but this failed to stop the vehicle. Robida fled about eighteen miles and stopped in Norfork, Arkansas and exchanged gunfire with police. During the gunfight, he shot his female companion, Jennifer Rena Bailey, age 33, of Charleston, West Virginia at point blank range, killing her.

The authorities believe that Robida had picked her up earlier in the week at her home in West Virginia, for some unknown reason. It has been reported that Robida lived with her in West Virginia in 2004.

After Bailey's death, Robida apparently attempted to commit suicide, shooting himself in the head. He was airlifted over a hundred miles to Springfield, Missouri for medical treatment, where he died of his injuries not long afterwards. He would have faced charges of murder, 3 counts of attempted murder, and civil rights violations.

MySpace biography

A high school dropout, Robida maintained a personal website on, which showed his main interests to be Neo-Nazism and the rap group Insane Clown Posse. He considered himself to be a Juggalo, a term coined by Insane Clown Posse to mean 'a follower of the Dark Carnival cult', and made many references to the Juggalo sub-culture on the site.

Response from Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records

On February 7, 2006, Insane Clown Posse posted a response to the events Robida was involved in. The response reviled Robida's actions and expressed ICP's regret over them.

ICP's manager, Alex Abbiss, wrote the response. He was quoted saying:

"Today I'd like to speak out about the incident which took place in New Bedford, Mass. First, I'd like to say that we'd like to extend our condolences to the victims and their families in this tragedy. Our prayers are with you. And with that said, I would now like to address the whole issue. This guy had problems. Anyone going into a bar swinging an axe and shooting a gun would have to realize that they would get caught and/or get killed, and that this would be the last action they took for the rest of their lives, and would clearly have to be insane and out of their mind to do my opinion, the perpetrator of this crime committed these acts not because he was a Juggalo, but because he was a neo-Nazi. He subscribed to an ideology of racism and bigotry, and was quite clearly, in my opinion, out of his mind. Anyone that knows anything at all about Juggalos knows that in no way, shape, or form would we ever approve of this type of bullshit behavior."

Videogame influence

A Miami lawyer, Jack Thompson, attempted to blame Postal and Grand Theft Auto for "influencing" Jacob Robida's actions.


Teen gunman took own life, officials say

By Maria Sacchetti and Jenna Russell - The Boston Globe

February 8, 2006

Jacob D. Robida ended the crime spree that started in a New Bedford bar by shooting himself in the head on a rural Arkansas road when he was surrounded by police, officials said yesterday.

Authorities had initially reported that police in Norfork, Ark., shot Robida on Saturday after a 16-mile chase that started when he shot and killed a police officer in Gassville. But forensic tests found the fatal bullet came from the 9mm Ruger handgun that Robida also used to kill his female passenger, said Bristol District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr.''He shot himself," said Walsh. The ballistic evidence ''confirms our earlier suspicions that he was planning not to get out of this alive, and to take down whoever was around him."

Massachusetts State Trooper Paul Dockrey, who is assigned to Walsh's office and is in Arkansas investigating the case, said that investigators are trying to learn if the deaths were part of a suicide pact between Robida, 18, and his passenger, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33. They once lived together in West Virginia and were seen hugging several times in the car after he shot Officer James Sell to death near a motel in Gassville.

When cornered by police after the ensuing chase, Robida first tried to shoot at the officers through the windshield of his car. That failed and he took the gun, put it against Bailey's head and pulled the trigger, Dockrey said. She slumped in the front seat, and police started shooting at Robida. Just then, Robida put the gun to his own head, and later died at a Springfield, Mo., hospital.

''There's no doubt it is a murder-suicide," Dockrey said. ''What we're trying to backtrack is if she was aware that this was going to be the end of the road."

Walsh provided new details yesterday about Robida's hurried journey from New Bedford -- where officials say he attacked three patrons of Puzzles Lounge, a gay bar, with a hatchet and the same 9mm pistol early Thursday -- to the Ozark Mountains about 1,500 miles away, where his escape ended in the shootout with police Saturday afternoon.

Around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Walsh said, Robida sought medical attention at a Burlington County, N.J., hospital for a head laceration suffered during the attack in the bar. Walsh said Robida claimed he was homeless and gave a fake name. Later, the person who treated Robida saw a news broadcast and notified authorities.

Thursday night, Robida showed up at Bailey's apartment in Charleston, W.Va., Walsh said. He said Robida left Bailey's apartment and Bailey called a friend and left a voice mail. ''She called her friend and said, 'He wants to stay here. I just saw him on the news, he committed a murder and I don't want him staying here.' "

Yet, sometime on Friday, Bailey left her three young sons with her mother and said she was going out to celebrate her birthday, which had taken place one week earlier, the district attorney said. Later that day in West Virginia, Bailey withdrew $500 from an ATM and was captured on a store video surveillance camera purchasing groceries with Robida, he said.

Walsh said he has not yet concluded whether Bailey was coerced or a willing participant, although her actions suggest she chose to go with Robida. ''None of these things are classic symptoms of kidnap victims," he said.

Walsh cautioned, however, that Robida could have threatened Bailey and her family if she did not cooperate. ''We don't know if she was doing that under duress," he said.

In West Virginia yesterday, Bailey's father, Ronnie Dunlap, said that his daughter would not have voluntarily left her three young children to accompany Robida.

''We're pretty well sure she was abducted," he said, in his first public comments since his daughter was killed. ''Me and her mother both know that and the evidence will show that."

Dunlap, 54, said the family has been upset by the suggestion that Bailey may have willingly gone with Robida. ''They've got it backwards, like she was leaving with him and making arrangements to go, and it's just a lie," Dunlap said in an interview at his home in the rural town of Tornado, where his trailer is tucked below a steep wooded hillside on a winding country road.

He said he last talked to his daughter on Wednesday and she gave no indication that she was leaving town. Her three sons stayed with their father during the week, said Dunlap, and visited Bailey on weekends. She was looking forward to seeing them on Saturday, he said.

Bailey's father said his daughter did not tell her mother she was leaving on a trip.

Dunlap said he met Robida once or twice and ''didn't like his looks." He said his daughter had broken off the relationship.

A photograph of Bailey hung on the wall of her father's trailer in a frame decorated with the words ''My baby girl." A photo of Bailey's three sons hung above it.

''I've been having a rough time," said Dunlap, his eyes filling with tears. ''She was my only child and I loved her a great deal."

Walsh said Robida apparently financed his cross-country run with some $350 he had been paid by a relative a week before the bar attack. Police found $187 on him after he died, the district attorney said.

He said Arkansas authorities are still processing Robida's car, but so far have not found a suicide note or other writings that would explain the burst of violence by Robida, who had a swastika tattooed on his hand and who told friends how he hated Jews and African-Americans, yet was known to have friends who are gay.

Police did find a 20-gauge shotgun and a .222-caliber rifle in the trunk, which they believe were taken in a break-in in West Virginia, Dockrey said. They also found cans of soda, pouches of instant soup, small bags of chips, a loaf of bread, and two lightly packed bags. Robida's black suitcase contained a couple of pairs of jeans and sweatshirts, mostly black. He said Bailey had a bottle of shampoo in her backpack.

They did not appear to have packed for a long trip, Dockrey said. ''It wasn't like, 'We're going for a long stay.' "

He said the police also found a scrap of paper with a Massachusetts cellphone number on it, but they did not know whose number it is.

Massachusetts State Police have a computer specialist combing through Robida's home computer, but have yet to read through his e-mails, Dockrey said.

He said that although there is no indication of a broader conspiracy or that any of Robida's friends knew he was planning to commit any of his crimes, police are investigating whether anyone in Massachusetts knew of his plans to leave New Bedford.

Walsh said that after the gay bar attack, Robida went to his home on County Street in New Bedford, where he washed up and left a handwritten note for his mother, Stephanie Oliver.

He said police found the note before Oliver and that she never saw it.

In the note, Robida told his mother that he loved her. He also wrote, ''I had to go out by my means."

''She wanted to know about the note, so I had to read it to her," said Walsh. ''She's a nice woman who just had no grasp on what was going on with her son, his computer, and his room."

Walsh said it remains unclear what triggered Robida's crime spree, but he said he hopes to release a report next week providing as much information about the events and Robida that investigators have been able to uncover.

''Some things we are never going to know," he said.

John R. Ellement and Lisa Wangsness of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Sacchetti reported from Little Rock, Ark., and Russell from Tornado, W.Va.


Mass. gay-bar attacker left note, official says

Jacob Robida apparently planned violence before deadly two-state spree

Feb. 7, 2006

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - Police searching the bedroom of an 18-year-old accused of two slayings and a rampage at a gay bar found a cache of weapons, a homemade poster with a Nazi swastika and a troubling final message.

“We didn’t interpret it necessarily as a suicide note, but it was certainly the note of a desperate man who had some plans to continue doing something violent,” Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh Jr. said Monday.

Jacob D. Robida was fatally wounded Saturday when he opened fire on Arkansas police at the end of a high-speed chase triggered by the killing a small town police officer. Moments before he was killed, police said Robida killed his passenger, a female friend.

Robida carried a small arsenal of weapons as he fled a gun-and-hatchet attack at Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford on Thursday, authorities said. A knife was found outside the lounge, and investigators also found 85 rounds of ammunition, a Samurai sword, one knife and two knife sheaths in Robida’s room at his home, a police report released Monday said.

Walsh said he believes Robida left the note in his bedroom after the attack at Puzzles Lounge but before he left on a 1,500-mile journey to Arkansas. The contents of the note were not officially released.

According to police, Robida shot and killed officer Jim Sell during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon in Gassville, Ark. Then, after a 20-mile chase to Norfork, Robida shot and killed his passenger, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, and pointed a gun at pursuing officers, who shot him twice in the head. Robida died Sunday in a Springfield, Mo., hospital.

Hostage or accomplice?

Officers were checking e-mails and Internet correspondence between Robida and Bailey, and hoped to scan surveillance tapes at stores and gas stations to determine whether the West Virginia woman went willingly or as a hostage.

Robida lived in West Virginia with Bailey, a mother of three boys, from sometime in 2004 to February 2005, West Virginia State Police Sgt. C.J. Ellyson said Monday.

“We’re trying to trace down their steps and find out when they hooked up, if she invited him over willingly or if she was abducted,” Ellyson said.

A friend of Bailey’s, Craig Dickinson, believed the woman was abducted.

“She would never leave her kids,” he said in a phone interview from West Virginia with The Associated Press. “I will guarantee she did not know what happened in Massachusetts.”

Bailey ended her relationship with Robida once she realized how disturbed he was, Dickinson said. “This was not some type of Bonnie-and-Clyde episode. She did not go to Arkansas of her own free will,” he said.

There was no sign of forced entry at Bailey’s home and no evidence of a struggle, West Virginia State Police Sgt. Jay Powers said Monday. Powers said her three children were with her mother.

Walsh said he would send investigators to Arkansas and he also wanted to find out how Robida obtained a gun. Handgun owners in Massachusetts must be at least 21.

'A sense that he is one of us'

Wreaths and flower arrangements were placed Monday at the scene of Sell’s shooting and residents brought sympathy cards to the police department. A funeral service was scheduled for Friday.

Walsh said he and others from Massachusetts plan to attend the funeral.

“This is our case, and that officer gave his life basically solving our case,” the prosecutor said. “There is a sense that he is one of us.”


Teen Wanted in Gay Bar Rampage Is Caught

February 5, 2006

GASSVILLE, Ark. - A teenager suspected of a hatchet-and-gun attack in a Massachusetts gay bar shot and killed a small-town police officer and the teen's female passenger before he was critically wounded in a gun battle with police Saturday, authorities said.

Jacob D. Robida, 18, was shot twice in the head and "it doesn't look good right now," said Massachusetts prosecutor Paul Walsh Jr.

Walsh said the teen shot Officer Jim Sell, 56, twice during a traffic stop in this northern Arkansas town.

About 25 miles away, Robida sped over spike strips set out by state troopers, but continued to drive with two punctured tires into downtown Norfork. Robida's car then careened into several parked vehicles to avoid a police barricade.

"When he wrecked he started firing at our officer and a state police officer and the officers returned fire," said Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery.

Walsh said the teen shot his unidentified female passenger before he was wounded in the shootout with police.

Robida was taken to a Springfield, Mo., hospital, according to state police spokesman Bill Sadler.

Investigators had searched for Robida since Thursday's attack at a bar in New Bedford, Mass., that left three men wounded, one critically.

The hatchet used in the attack was found outside the bar, but detectives believed Robida still had the gun.

Robida was a high school dropout who friends say glorified Naziism but never expressed any specific prejudice against gays.

"This is insane," said Heather Volton, 22, of Fall River, Mass., who had known Robida for more than a year. "That kid never so much as raised his voice at me ... This is all pretty much a shock to me, like everyone else."


Attack at gay bar leaves 3 injured

Nationwide alert after suspect flees

By John R. Ellement and Raja Mishra - The Boston Globe

February 3, 2006

NEW BEDFORD -- Authorities say Jacob D. Robida was hunting homosexuals when he walked into Puzzles Lounge around midnight.

After asking a bartender ''Is this a gay bar?," the 18-year-old New Bedford man, dressed entirely in black, allegedly began chopping at a patron with a hatchet, triggering a melee that ended with Robida wildly firing a handgun, according to court documents. Three men were hospitalized yesterday with serious but not life-threatening injuries, police said.

Robida fled the scene and faces about a dozen charges in connection with the attack, including assault, attempted murder, and civil rights violations, police and prosecutors said. State Police and local police were searching last night for him, warning that he was armed, dangerous, and mentally unstable. Law enforcement agencies nationwide were alerted to look out for Robida.

In Robida's room at his mother's house, police yesterday found homemade posters slurring gays, African-Americans, and Jews; neo-Nazi literature and skinhead paraphernalia; a makeshift coffin; and an empty knife sheath, according to police, prosecutors, and court documents.

The attack, which police and Bristol County prosecutors said they are treating as a hate crime, drew national attention and widespread condemnation from both local and national civil rights groups and politicians, with some calling it an extreme manifestation of a growing national hostility toward homosexuals.

''Again and again we have seen that as efforts to marginalize or, in the case of Massachusetts, remarginalize our community escalate, sick and violent people take those efforts as license to step up violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people," said Clarence Patton, acting executive director of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. ''It's been happening across the nation, as our community has come under increased political and rhetorical fire."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy called the attack a ''sad reminder" of why Congress should pass a bill that would extend the federal law on hate crimes to cover offenses targeting people because of sexual orientation. The current law, which allows federal investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, covers those based on race, religion, and nationality.

Hate crime laws in Massachusetts, however, do cover sexual orientation, giving offenders additional punishments.

''At first blush, our inclination would be that it is a hate crime," said Bristol District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. ''The attack seemed random. We have no evidence to believe he knew these people."

The victims were identified by police as Robert Perry of Dartmouth, Alex Taylor of Fairhaven, and Luis Rosado of New Bedford. Their conditions were unknown last night.

Perry's sister, who asked for anonymity because the suspect was still at large, said yesterday that her brother worked as an emergency medical technician in the Boston area and had four sons.

''It's a shame that it had to happen to him, because he is the nicest guy you could ever meet," she said.

Walsh said Robida did not appear to be connected to any organized hate groups. Police said that Puzzles had not been targeted by antigay activity recently and that hate crimes against homosexuals were rare in New Bedford.

Last night, as the bar reopened as scheduled at 7 p.m., about 150 activists and others gathered in a candlelight vigil outside, as a large contingent of police looked on.

Residents living near the bar, located in the bottom floor of a four-story house in the city's North End, expressed dismay at the violent outburst.

''We're all intermingled here, the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Hondurans, we have all crowds down here, and we don't have any problems with each other," said Natalie Arruda, owner of the nearby Mauricio's Market grocery. ''This place is quiet; we've never had violence like that before. And if that kid is from around here, that's odd."

Little could be learned yesterday about Robida. He attended New Bedford High School, according to court documents. School officials would not say if he is currently enrolled.

He graduated in 2001 from New Bedford's Junior Police Academy, a program designed to teach discipline to 12- to 14-year-olds, though officers there said yesterday that they do not recall anything specific about him.

In 2000, state social service workers investigated a neglect complaint involving Robida, though they concluded that no action needed to be taken, according to Denise Monteiro, spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services.

According to an affidavit attached to the arrest warrant, Robida walked into Puzzles around midnight yesterday, wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and black pants that concealed a knife, hatchet, and handgun. One unidentified witness recognized him as Jake, a classmate from New Bedford High, and was suspicious because she knew he was not gay, according to the affidavit.

Robida flashed identification, apparently fake, and ordered Captain Morgan rum on the rocks, according to the documents and witnesses. He asked the bartender if Puzzles was a gay bar. He asked another patron about gay bars in the area, was told there was a lesbian bar nearby, and replied, ''No, this is the one I want," according to court documents.

He walked to the pool table and struck a man from behind with the hatchet, according to the affidavit. He then attacked a second man, and a furious struggle ensued, as other patrons tried to subdue him, the affidavit stated. One patron hit him on the head with a pool cue, said the bartender, who identified himself only as Phillip, because the suspect was at large.

Robida was wrestled to the ground, then pulled out a handgun and opened fire, hitting one man next to him and another man, Rosado, who was walking out of the bathroom, according to court papers.

Phillip said Robida, on his way out, pointed the gun at his face and pulled the trigger, but the gun failed to fire.

Rosado suffered a gunshot to the chest, another victim had multiple lacerations, and another had a severe facial laceration and a gunshot wound to the back, court records say.

Police found the hatchet in the bar and a knife on the ground outside. The gun was not recovered.

''This is not an isolated incident," the bartender said. ''I feel lost. You don't expect someone to go into the bar and start attacking people because of who they are."

According to court documents, Robida returned home at about 1 a.m. yesterday, where his mother, Stephanie Oliver, noticed that he was bleeding from the head. He then left and has not been seen since. Police described him as 5-foot-6, weighing about 200 pounds, with dark hair. He was last seen driving a green 1999 Pontiac Grand Am with Massachusetts plates 85E-C58.

Emily Pitt -- coordinator for the violence recovery program at Fenway Community Health Center, which is active in the gay community -- said, ''I can't remember anything like this happening in Massachusetts."

US Representative Barney Frank, who represents New Bedford, said the incident was a tragic aberration. ''This is the vicious act of one degenerate; it's not a city problem," he said. ''This is in no way reflective of any significant opinion in New Bedford."

Adrienne P. Samuels of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Michael Levenson contributed to this report.


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