Robarge Charges Upgraded

Man Faces First-Degree Murder in Wife’s Death

Newport — James Robarge will be arraigned Jan. 6 on charges he murdered his estranged wife, Kelly, last summer in their Charlestown home and dumped her body in a wooded area in Unity.

Robarge, 43, was indicted last week by a Sullivan County grand jury on both first-degree and second-degree murder charges. The first-degree charge is an upgrade from when Robarge was arrested and appeared in Claremont Fifth District Court in late August. Originally, Robarge was charged with reckless second-degree murder.

After a court hearing Aug. 26, Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said the investigation was ongoing and there was a possibility Robarge could be charged with first-degree murder. Morrell was not available for comment on Thursday.

Robarge was charged July 8, two days after his wife’s body was found off Britton Road in Unity. Police believe he killed Kelly Robarge in their home on Happy Acres Road on June 27, the day she filed for divorce.

At the time of his arrest, Robarge, who was living in Saxtons River, Vt., when his wife was killed, was being held in Southern State Correctional Facility after he was arrested July 2 on three motor vehicle charges out of Bellows Falls, Vt., including attempting to elude (police) with gross negligent operation of a vehicle, a felony. Robarge decided to fight extradition but was eventually returned to New Hampshire.

According to police affidavits, on the day Kelly Robarge was killed, James Robarge sent text messages to one of their daughters asking if she had seen her mother. He told her he arrived at the house on Happy Acres Road and found his 1-year-old grandson, but could not find Kelly.

When his daughter arrived, James Robarge said he was going to search for his wife.

His car broke down in Unity and when a Claremont police officer arrived, Robarge said he was looking for his wife. The affidavit states that the officer noted blood stains on Robarge’s pants and sneakers and scratches on his neck, chest and torso. He wasn’t wearing a shirt.

After Kelly Robarge’s body was found July 8, an arrest warrant was issued for her husband.

According to state law, first-degree murder occurs when the “actor’s conscious object is the death of another, and that his act or acts in furtherance of that object were deliberate and premeditated.” Second-degree murder is not defined by deliberate or premeditation.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at