By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
Britany Barron was doing what her husband told her to do when she cut the head off of her dead lover and dumped his body in a remote stream, and Judge Peter Bornstein said that’s reason enough to keep her in jail pending trial.
“The defendant did as her husband told her to do,” Bornstein said at Britany Barron’s bail hearing Monday. “There is still a substantial risk the defendant will do as her husband tells her to do.”
Barron, 31, is charged with destroying evidence after her husband, Armando Barron, shot and killed her lover, Jonathan Amerault, 25, on Sept. 19, 2020, in Jaffrey.
Armando Barron is charged with capital murder for killing Amerault, allegedly after he discovered texts between Amerault and his wife that showed they had a relationship.
Britany Barron’s attorney, Richard Guerriero, argued for Britany to be released on an electronic monitor and home confinement. She is a long-time victim of her husband’s abuse, he said, and not a dangerous criminal as portrayed by prosecutors.
“Most of the state’s arguments are out of context and they ignore that she is the victim of domestic violence,” Guerriero said.
Britany Barron’s former co-workers at Teleflex Medical in Jaffrey told police they believed Armando Barron was controlling and abusive, Guerriero said. They reported to police that Armando Barron did not let her socialize outside of work, and they also said that he drove her to and from her job every day, Guerriero said. According to court records, Armando Barron was unemployed.
The co-workers also told police that when Britany told Armando the relationship was over and she wanted out, he “smacked her in the face,” Guerriero said.
“Who asked who they were afraid of, (the co-workers) all said Armando, and not Britany,” Guerriero said.
When Armando Barron discovered the texts, he first beat Britany Barron in the bathroom of their home, grabbing her by the neck and slamming her down, Guerriero said. During that ordeal, Guerriero said Armando Barron put a gun in his wife’s mouth and choked her so that she could not scream out.
Guerriero said Britany Barron thought then that Armando Barron was going to kill her, as he read text after text between her and Amerault, hitting her as he read each one aloud.
Instead, he used her phone to lure Amerault to Annett State Park where he then beat and tortured Amerault, and tried to get his wife to shoot her lover, but she refused, Guerriero said.
“She knew she might die herself and she still refused to take that action,” he said.
Assistant Attorney General Scott Chase countered, saying Britany Barron had multiple opportunities to act, despite her status as a domestic violence victim.
“The assault does not excuse the criminal choices she made later on,” he said.
Prosecutors said she passed on a couple of chances to save Amerault’s life or to at least report the crime before heading north.
Britany Barron would drive Jonathan Amerault’s car from Jaffrey up to a campsite in Atkinson & Gilmanton Academy Grant, a remote part of Coos County more than 200 miles away, Chase said.
On the drive she had a cell phone, gas in the car, and even a loaded gun that Armando Barron put in her backpack for the trip, according to Chase. She had the opportunity to go to police, he said, but she instead followed her husband.
At the campsite, Britany Barron was ordered by her husband to saw Amerault’s head off, and she was given orders to dismember the rest of the body.
Guerriero said after Armando Barron left she refused to further dismember Amerault’s body. But she did break cell phones and burn Amerault’s identification and bury his body and head in separate locations.
Chase said the state already took into account her status as a likely domestic violence victim and charged her with the alleged destruction of evidence.
Coos County Superior Court hearing was live streamed by WMUR: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fcijj7hwmcm2bmy/BARON%20HEARING%20SEQUENCE.mxf?dl=0