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Memorial Service Planned for Fla. Girl

Jessica Lunsford liked to ride her bike. She liked to practice cheerleading, too.

The slain third-grader was remembered by her family at a private gathering Friday. A public memorial service was scheduled for Saturday.

"We're going to make it," Jessica's grandfather, Archie Lunsford (search), told the Orlando Sentinel for its Saturday editions. "It's been tough, but we want to finish it up by going to the memorial."

Authorities say convicted sex offender John E. Couey (search), 46, confessed to kidnapping and killing Jessica, 9, who was last seen in February when she went to bed after attending church. She was discovered missing the next morning.

Jessica's body was found last week about 150 yards from her house, near a mobile home where Couey had been staying at the time of her abduction.

Couey is charged with capital murder, battery, kidnapping and sexual battery on a child under 12 and is expected to enter a plea next month. He was being held without bail.

"Everything is done now," Archie Lunsford said. "Maybe we can start getting our lives back together."

Medical examiners said Jessica was sexually assaulted and died of asphyxiation.

Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford, has repeatedly said he wants prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy will ask the State Attorney's Office to pursue that sentence as well.

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