LONDONDERRY — Prosecutors trying to convict William Argie, 48, of killing his wife last year are building their case on a broken marriage and a murder-for-hire attempt, among other substantial troubles, according to new court documents.
The documents request that a judge allow certain evidence at trial, including personal details about William Argie’s life with the victim — his wife of 13 years, Maureen.
Police publicly identified Maureen Argie, 41, soon after finding her strangled to death April 4, 2019, in the Londonderry home she shared with her husband and their two young children, a boy and a girl both in elementary school.
Her husband was arrested two months later and eventually charged with purposeful first-degree murder, an alternative count of reckless second-degree murder, and falsifying evidence.
William Argie has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is scheduled for a 10-day trial to begin in January 2021.
Details of the case have remained largely hidden from public view in sealed court documents.
However, Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley and Assistant Attorney General Heather Cherniske wrote in recent, unsealed documents, about the Argie’s “imminent divorce” and “deepening financial troubles.”
Not only was there talk of divorce, according to prosecutors, but Maureen consulted a divorce lawyer, made plans with friends and family members to sell the Londonderry home, and planned to live with the children apart from her husband.
Prosecutors argue that Maureen was afraid of her husband, who knew about the impending separation.
As proof, they want a judge to allow as evidence a five-minute recorded phone call between Maureen and a Londonderry police officer from March 30, 2019 — five days before she was killed.
During the call she expressed concerns about her husband, noting that the situation with him was “tense.”
She made the call “in order to ensure that the emergency line to police was operational ‘in case something happens,’ in order to ‘protect herself,’” according to prosecutors.
Two days later, April 1, 2019, she’s said to have expressed similar worry to her father — specifically that her husband was monitoring her cellphone.
Prosecutors go on in court documents to describe William Argie as a gambling addict whose family was unsuccessful in intervening a year before Maureen was killed.
Court paperwork says, “the day after his wife’s murder, Argie was tracked down to a casino in Connecticut, where he was found gambling” after a suicide attempt.
Prosecutors believe his deepening financial crisis leading up to the incidents in question are also relevant.
They say William Argie lost his longtime job as a physicians assistant and was unable to find consistent employment to pay off mounting debts.
He was being chased by creditors, was on the verge of filing for personal bankruptcy, and continued to gamble, according to documents.
Prosecutors say William Argie was motivated to kill his wife for her $400,000 life insurance policy, of which he was the sole beneficiary.
A man he gambled with, James Timbas, is said to have confirmed the theory when he contacted police after hearing of Maureen’s death.
According to Timbas, William Argie would complain about his wife and their relationship when he gambled, as well as how he “hated her and wanted to get rid of her.”
He claims that several weeks before Maureen was found dead, William Argie offered him a share of his wife’s insurance policy if he helped kill her.
According to Timbas, William Argie said, “I’m done with her. I’m going to (expletive) kill her, and I’m going to collect the money.”
When Timbas said he wouldn’t help, he was offered a smaller amount of money to find a “hit man” to commit the murder, which Timbas said he also declined.
All attorneys involved with the case are scheduled to convene in court before the end of the year, to assure the COVID-19 pandemic and a backlog of cases have not impacted the set trial date.
A judge will also rule on the prosecutorial requests for permitted evidence.