By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
The Jaffrey couple charged in the September 2020 murder and decapitation of a Keene man will be offered plea deals by prosecutors.
Carrie Smith, one of Armando Barron’s defense attorneys, said during a dispositional conference held in the Cheshire Superior Court in Keene Wednesday that she’s willing to listen to offers from the state.
“If they have any interest in finding out the truth we’d have an interest in talking to them,” Smith said.
Armando Barron, 30, is charged with capital murder for allegedly shooting Jonathan Amerault, 25. He is also facing charges stemming from an alleged domestic violence assault on his wife Britany Barron, 31.
She’s charged with falsifying physical evidence, in part, for allegedly sawing Amerault’s head off from his body and hiding it. Her attorney, Richard Guerriero has said she acted out of fear for her life and safety.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati informed the Coos Superior Court this week he plans to have a plea agreement offered to Britany Barron in the next 30 days. Agati asked Cheshire Superior Court Judge David Ruoff to set the trial date for Armando Barron in May of 2022.
Smith was pushing for an early trial for her client, in September or December of this year. She said the state likely wants to come to a plea agreement with Britany Barron before it can prosecute Armando Barron.
“They certainly require Britany’s testimony if they proceed against our client,” Smith said.
Both Barrons remain held without bail, though Guerriero is asking that Britany Barron be released to home confinement with electronic monitoring. He has argued that she will likely be shown leniency since it will be shown in court she acted under duress and her prison term, if conviction, will be minimal.
Agati said once discovery reports in the case are complete, he also plans to make an offer to Armando Barron, and Ruoff gave him a 90-day window to make the offer.
Armando Barron allegedly discovered that Britany Barron was having an affair with Amerault and then used her cell phone to lure Amerault to a park in Rindge, according to court records. Armando Barron allegedly beat his wife after learning about her relationship with Amerault, and at one point during the assault he put a loaded pistol in her mouth, she told police.
When Amerault arrived at the park expecting Britany Barron, Armando Barron violently assaulted him and tried to force his wife to shoot him, even putting the gun in her hands and wrapping his hand over hers, according to the police affidavit written by New Hampshire State Police Detective Stephen Sloper.
Armando Barron tried and failed to get Britany Barron to step on Amerault’s neck, and he next forced her to cut Amerault’s wrists, according to Sloper. Armando Barron then shot Amerault three times, killing him, according to Sloper’s affidavit.
The couple drove up to an Errol campground in two cars, with Britany Barron driving Amerault’s Subaru up to the woods. At the campsite, she told police, she was forced to cut off Amerault’s head with a saw, and bury it in the woods. Amerault’s body was wrapped in a tarp and buried near a brook, and his car was covered with a tarp, according to Sloper’s affidavit.
Amerault’s mother called police when he failed to show up for work two days later. New Hampshire State Police Detective Matthew Anderson writes in his affidavit that police soon learned that Amerault and Britany Barron worked together at Teleflex Medical in Jaffrey, and that Britany Barron had called in that day to quit her job. Employees also told police they believed Britany Barron and Amerault were in a relationship, Anderson wrote.
Police used cell phone data to help find her at a campsite in the woods in Atkinson and Gilmanton Academy Grant.
“I’m in big trouble,” she reportedly said to the conservation officers who found her.
Police say Britany Barron was alone at the campsite and armed. Near her was a large object covered by a tarp and covered with sticks and branches. The conservation officers reported seeing blood run out of the bound tarp covering Amerault’s headless body.
Britany Barron told police that she burned Amerault’s belongings and wiped down his car and was waiting for her husband to return. He was heading up to the campsite with their 9-year-old daughter, according to police.
Armando Barron was stopped and arrested in Coos County.