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Extradition Approved For Charlestown Suspect

  • Kayla Rice/Reformer                                <br/>James Robarge appeared in district court Wednesday afternoon. It was decided that he will not fight extradition to New Hampshire.

    Kayla Rice/Reformer
    James Robarge appeared in district court Wednesday afternoon. It was decided that he will not fight extradition to New Hampshire.

  • Kayla Rice/Reformer                                <br/>James Robarge appeared in district court Wednesday afternoon. It was decided that he will not fight extradition to New Hampshire.

    Kayla Rice/Reformer
    James Robarge appeared in district court Wednesday afternoon. It was decided that he will not fight extradition to New Hampshire.

  • Kayla Rice/Reformer                                <br/>James Robarge appeared in district court Wednesday afternoon. It was decided that he will not fight extradition to New Hampshire.
  • Kayla Rice/Reformer                                <br/>James Robarge appeared in district court Wednesday afternoon. It was decided that he will not fight extradition to New Hampshire.

Brattleboro — James Robarge, charged with reckless second-degree murder in the death of his wife, will be sent to New Hampshire after Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin approved his extradition.

Shumlin signed the warrant last Friday, and Robarge appeared in Windham Superior Court on Wednesday to be served with the warrant. The judge ordered Robarged to be transferred within two weeks, but officials could not give an exact date of when New Hampshire State Police would transport him.

Robarge’s estranged wife, Kelly Robarge, 42, of Charlestown, was reported missing in late June. Her body was found nine days later in a wooded area near Britton Road in Unity, not far from her Happy Acres Road home in Charlestown.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office filed the murder charge against Robarge, 43, of Saxtons River, Vt., two days after Kelly Robarge’s body was found. At the time, James Robarge was already being held at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., after an encounter with police in Bellows Falls, Vt., in July when he was charged with attempting to elude with gross negligent operation of a vehicle, a felony, and gross negligent operation, a misdemeanor.

Robarge chose to fight extradition, which kicked off a lengthy process involving a request from the New Hampshire governor that Robarge be returned to the state, and the governor of Vermont consenting to Robarge’s transfer.

In Windham Superior Court on Wednesday, Robarge appeared clean cut with his brown hair closely cut and his face clean shaven except for a thin mustache. Robarge spoke quietly to his pubic defender, Mimi Brill, before the hearing, nodding his head as they spoke.

Robarge did not speak during his hearing, but Brill informed Judge John Wesley that Robarge would not file habeas corpus, in which he could have argued that he was being held in jail unlawfully on the second-degree murder charge. If he had filed habeas corpus, it would have delayed the extradition process.

Brill also said that Robarge has been assigned a public defender in New Hampshire, Carrie Smith of Keene. Smith did not return a call for comment.

Windham County Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Brown also asked the judge that Robarge’s bail be discontinued so it does not impede on the extradition warrant.

Robarge has been held at the Southern State Correctional Facility without bail since early July when the extradition process began, and he returned there after Wednesday’s hearing.

The next step is for New Hampshire State Police to transport Robarge to New Hampshire, where he will be held at the Sullivan County House of Corrections, New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said. An arraignment at Claremont District Court will be scheduled within 24 hours of him being brought back in New Hampshire.

Wesley, the Windham County judge, requested that Robarge be transported to New Hampshire within 14 days, but Morrell could not give a specific date for when Robarge would be transferred.

“I don’t know how long it will take,” Morrell said. “It depends on everyone’s schedule and what the district court wants.”

No members of Robarge’s family attended the hearing. Reached by phone, Robarge’s daughter, Gabrielle, declined to comment.

At the courthouse Wednesday, Kelly Robarge’s maternal grandmother, Mary Wright, said, “I just hope he gets what is coming to him.”

An affidavit released after Robarge chose to fight extradition alleged Robarge attacked his wife at her Charlestown home and then dumped her body in Unity.

On June 27, Robarge sent text messages to his daughter, Ciera, asking if she knew the location of her mother. Robarge said he was at the Charlestown home and when he arrived, he found his 1-year-old grandson alone in the house crying on the couch, but he couldn’t find Kelly Robarge. James Robarge left when Ciera arrived at the home and said he was going to look for his wife.

Police officers later found blood smears on the toilet seat and lid and on the wall near the front door. Blood was also found on a support beam in the kitchen and living room area, as well as blood on the wood floor.

When Robarge left the house, his car broke down and he was found by a Claremont police officer as he was walking on the side of the road. Robarge told the officer that he was looking for his wife when his car broke down, according to the affidavit. The officer noticed what appeared to be blood on Robarge’s sneaker and a blood stain on Robarge’s left pant leg. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and the officer noticed two or three parallel abrasions on his neck and scratches on his chest and torso.

Police found two towels covered in blood about 15 feet from Robarge’s car, according to the affidavit. A blood-stained floor mat was also found a few feet from the towels, as well as a knotted orange plastic coated cord that appeared to have a blood stain.

Kelly Robarge’s body was eventually discovered about two miles from the spot where James Robarge’s car had broken down, according to the affidavit.

Kelly Robarge filed for divorce the day she disappeared.

The police affidavit was made public when Robarge fought extradition, but court documents show that New Hampshire officials had wanted that information to remain sealed.

The Attorney General’s Office requested that the Vermont court seal the state’s application for an arrest warrant, affidavit, warrant, return and motion.

The motion argued that release of the affidavit would jeopardize the ongoing investigation by disclosing evidence collected in the cases.

Morrell said the affidavit is sealed in New Hampshire and she plans to request other filings there be sealed as well.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.