By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
The Charlestown man convicted in the brutal slaying of his wife will not have to pay the full restitution amount of $25,000 after appealing that order.
James Robarge, 52, was convicted in 2013 on one count of second degree murder for the slaying of his wife, Kelly Robarge. He was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison, and ordered to pay up to $25,000 in restitution to cover costs associated with the crime. That amount includes funeral expenses, therapy for his adult daughters, lost wages, and other expenses.
Robarge made an unprecedented move to challenge the amount of restitution imposed by the New Hampshire Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, arguing he was being ordered to pay expenses without being able to know if the expenses were justified.
After years of legal fighting to force the state to provide him with the documents proving the expenses, Robarge and the state come to an agreement that will have him pay $14,492.
His attorney, Alex Parsons, said the state was simply unable to prove many of the expenses claimed were legitimate.
“Basically, I did a thorough review of the documentation the state provided and found there were some expenses claimed that were not fully documented,” Parsons said.
The settled amount of $14,492 represents the amount of money Parsons said the state is able to properly document. He declined to specify what is in the expenses that James Robarge is paying. Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell did not respond to a request for comment.
The Victims’ Compensation Program pays out the expenses to the victims, and then bills the perpetrator under New Hampshire’s system. Since Robarge is not paying the full $25,000, it is not clear if the remaining, approximately $10,000, will get repaid to the fund. Representatives for the program fund did not respond to a request for comment.
Morrell said in court that the expenses had already been verified by the program. The program operates with funding from the state and federal government and is audited to make sure it is in compliance with how it pays out money, and to whom.
James Robarge does not have any assets and earns $3 a day working at the New Hampshire State Prison.
Kelly Robarge went missing on June 27, 2013, hours after having sent text messages to friends her estranged husband was at her home and that she was going to tell him in person she was divorcing him.
Prosecutors said Kelly Robarge had already sent James Robarge a note about her plans for a divorce filing, and that she had proposed a property settlement.
James Roberge was held by police officers later that day in Unity, questioned about his wife’s disappearance, and he reportedly had blood both on his person and in his car.
Ten days after she went missing, Kelly Robarge’s badly decomposed and bound body was found in the woods of Unity, which is 10 miles from her Charlestown home. Her head and hands had been separated from the rest of her body.
The day she disappeared, Kelly Robarge had been babysitting her 1-year-old grandson, taking him with her when she went to Newport to file for divorce.
One of her daughters reported her missing after James Robarge told his daughter he had arrived at the home that afternoon to find his 1-year-old grandson alone, sitting on the couch and crying. Police reportedly found blood evidence in the home indicating Kelly Robarge was murdered there, and her body later moved to the woods.