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Bail denied for man accused of beating his estranged wife to death
State police Detective Sgt. John Sonia is cross-examined by public defender Alex Parsons during an arraignment and bail hearing for James Robarge. (Meghan Pierce)
James Robarge enters Sullivan County Superior Court during his lengthy arraignment and bail hearing Thursday. (Meghan Pierce)
James R. Robarge, 44, was indicted on first- and second-degree murder charges by the Sullivan County Grand Jury last month in the death of his wife of 24 years, Kelly Robarge, 42, on June 27. She died of blunt force trauma at her home at 124 Happy Acres Road in Charlestown.
On July 6, Kelly Robarge's remains were found in a wooded area near an off-road trail about 300 yards off Britton Road in Unity.
Investigators said they found blood splatter and evidence that large amounts of blood had been cleaned up at Kelly Robarge's home.
Evidence also includes the testimony of two friends of Kelly Robarge, Sonia said.
Alex Parsons, one of Robarge's defense attorneys, argued that none of the text messages name Robarge, saying all that can be concluded is that a man was at the house with Kelly Robarge at that time.
Hours later, between 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., a neighbor heard yelling from the property, Sonia said.
Investigators believe Kelly was killed between that argument and 3:30 p.m. when Ciera Robarge, one of the couple's daughters, arrived at the home.
Sonia said investigators believe Robarge had Kelly Robarge in the trunk of his car at the time and took her with him when he told his daughter he was going to look for her mother.
Sonia said the medical examiner ruled Kelly died of "homicidal violence by undetermined means."
Parson argued the autopsy ruled the death a homicide, but does not say what the "mechanism" of Robarge's death was.
Defense attorney Caroline Smith said the evidence given was circumstantial and did not support the first- and second-degree charges because the evidence does not point to premeditation.
Morrell supported the evidence saying: "It's all encompassing. It doesn't hinge on one single item. ... It's the totality of it."
Outside the courtroom, Morrell said pretrial hearings would commence, but the trial is likely a year to a year and a half away.
At the time of Robarge's death, the couple was estranged and Robarge had been living with his stepfather in Saxon's River, Vt.
"I can't believe that he did do that. I've known him since he was five, and I can't believe it."
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