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Robarge Enters No Plea

Vt. Man Charged With Killing Wife Held Without Bail

  • James Robarge listens during his arraignment proceedings at Claremont District Court in Claremont, N.H., on Aug. 26, 2013. <br/><br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    James Robarge listens during his arraignment proceedings at Claremont District Court in Claremont, N.H., on Aug. 26, 2013.

    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • New Hampshire State Police cars leave a scene on 2nd New Hampshire Turnpike in Unity, N.H., on Aug. 26, 2013. About a dozen state vehicles were seen parked on the side of the road yesterday afternoon. <br/><br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    New Hampshire State Police cars leave a scene on 2nd New Hampshire Turnpike in Unity, N.H., on Aug. 26, 2013. About a dozen state vehicles were seen parked on the side of the road yesterday afternoon.

    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • James Robarge listens during his arraignment proceedings at Claremont District Court in Claremont, N.H., on Aug. 26, 2013. <br/><br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • New Hampshire State Police cars leave a scene on 2nd New Hampshire Turnpike in Unity, N.H., on Aug. 26, 2013. About a dozen state vehicles were seen parked on the side of the road yesterday afternoon. <br/><br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

Claremont — A Vermont man charged with killing his estranged wife and dumping her body in the woods in Unity appeared in court Monday for a hearing that lasted less than a minute.

No plea was entered on behalf of James Robarge, 43, and Judge Jack Yazinski scheduled a probable cause hearing for Sept. 5. Robarge, charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kelly, is being held without bail at the Sullivan County House of Corrections in Unity.

Wearing a white shirt and shackles on his wrists and ankles, Robarge, 43, who did not speak, stood next to his public defender, Carrie Smith.

Several relatives of the Robarges were seated in the front row of the court but quickly departed after the hearing.

Outside Circuit Court in Claremont after the hearing, Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell offered little insight into the case against Robarge, beyond what was contained in the original criminal complaint.

“I can’t comment on the fact of the investigations,” Morrell said, who also declined to say whether a murder weapon was recovered.

Morrell said depending on the results of the ongoing investigation, the charges against Robarge could be upgraded to first-degree murder, but she did not provide specifics.

Police alleged Robarge killed Kelly Robarge, 42, whom had filed for divorce the day she disappeared, at her home on Happy Acres Road in Charlestown.

Also yesterday shortly before the 1 p.m. hearing, roughly 20 state troopers were gathered in Unity, not far from where Kelly Robarge’s body was found off Britton Road in July, more than a week after she was discovered missing from her Charlestown home.

Morrell declined to say whether the troopers’ presence was related to the case.

In Unity, State Trooper Ron Taylor said the officers present were with the state police’s Special Events Response Team, but referred further questions to the Attorney General’s Office.

According to the State Police website, the team is trained in riot control and mobile field tactics with a mission of assisting with large crowds or disturbances. A man working on a nearby utility pole said he was told it was a training exercise.

Robarge, of Saxtons River, Vt., was charged with murder July 8, two days after Kelly Robarge’s body was found. At the time, he was being held at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., on a felony motor vehicle charge out of Bellows Falls, Vt. He was extradited to New Hampshire last week.

If Robarge waives his probable cause hearing, prosecutors would seek an indictment from the grand jury, probably within 90 days, Morrell said.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.