BRATTLEBORO — A Charlestown, N.H., man accused of murdering his estranged wife in June at the home they once shared appeared in a Vermont court Wednesday where his bail on separate charges from an incident in Bellows Falls was struck so he can be turned over to New Hampshire authorities to face a murder charge.
James R. Robarge, 43, was charged last month with reckless second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kelly J. Robarge, 42. Kelly Robarge disappeared from the couple’s Happy Acres Road home June 27, the same day she filed for divorce. Her body was found in a wooded area off Britton Road in Unity, N.H., on July 6. The state medical examiner determined the cause of death was homicide.
James Robarge has been in Vermont’s custody since July 2, after he allegedly led police on a brief chase when they tried to intercept him on his way to a medical appointment at the Rockingham Medical Group health care facility in Bellows Falls — just hours before the couple’s two daughters hosted a candlelight vigil for their then-missing mother.
He was charged with gross negligent operation and attempting to elude police.
In court Wednesday, a Vermont prosecutor asked a judge to strike Robarge’s $5,000 bail on those charges, and the condition that he not leave the state of Vermont in order to pave the way for his extradition. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a warrant from N.H. Gov. Maggie Hassan identifying Robarge as a murder suspect in New Hampshire, which was served to Robarge on Wednesday, Windham County Deputy State’s Attorney Steven M. Brown said.
Robarge waived his right to challenge extradition Wednesday, Brown said.
New Hampshire law enforcement officials have 14 days to pick up Robarge to bring him back to New Hampshire, according to Senior Assistant N.H. Attorney General Susan Morrell.
Morrell said her office is working with N.H. State Police, who will transport Robarge to New Hampshire, to determine a day and time when that could occur.
Once back in New Hampshire, Robarge will be arraigned on the murder charge within 24 hours of his arrival, Morrell said.
Robarge’s arraignment will take place in 5th Circuit Court District Division in Claremont, N.H.
Police affidavits show Robarge was found by police with blood on his clothes and scratches on his body near his broken-down vehicle on Chestnut Street in Unity the day Kelly Robarge went missing, just a few miles from where her body was later discovered. Police also found bloody towels and a plastic-coated wire with blood on it near the vehicle. The affidavit says police determined Robarge’s vehicle had broken down because it was leaking oil, and that they found oil and tire marks at the scene on Britton Road. Police said they also found several blood spatters inside the Happy Acres Road home that indicated a physical altercation occurred in the house.
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