The Jaffrey woman who falsified evidence after her husband allegedly shot and killed a Keene resident in 2020 was granted parole Thursday, according to a state spokesperson sending information on behalf of the N.H. Adult Parole Board.
Britany Barron, 32, appeared before the board in Concord, where her request for parole was approved. This is conditioned on her meeting all obligations and terms of her agreement with the N.H. Attorney General’s Office, the spokesperson said. Since parole board deliberations are confidential, the spokesperson said they could not provide information on how and why the board voted the way it did.
Prosecutors have charged Barron’s husband, Armando Barron, with multiple crimes in the death of Jonathan Amerault of Keene, including capital murder and first-degree murder.
Police say Armando Barron shot and killed Amerault, 25, overnight between Sept. 19 and 20, 2020, after discovering Amerault and his wife were romantically involved.
Armando Barron’s trial is expected to get underway next month. WMUR has reported that Britany Barron will testify at that trial, which is scheduled to start on May 9.
Britany Barron has admitted to removing Amerault’s head from his corpse and attempting to hide his remains, but said it was on her husband’s orders, according to testimony she provided during her sentencing hearing.
She accepted a plea agreement in September in which she pleaded guilty in Grafton County Superior Court to three counts of falsifying evidence in exchange for a sentence of 3½ to seven years in state prison, with two years suspended on the condition of continued good behavior. Two counts of abusing a corpse, a misdemeanor, were dropped under the agreement with prosecutors.
With the suspended sentence and a little more than a year of pretrial confinement credit from her time behind bars before her sentencing, Britany Barron became eligible for parole this spring.
According to an affidavit written by N.H. State Police Sgt. Stephen Sloper, she told police after her arrest in 2020 that her husband used her cellphone to lure Amerault to Annett State Park in Rindge after discovering text messages between the two. She’d told Armando she wanted a divorce, and she and Amerault were in the early stages of forming a romantic relationship, Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said at her plea hearing in North Haverhill in September.
Britany Barron told police that once at the park, her husband ordered her to shoot Amerault, but when she refused he shot and killed Amerault himself, the affidavit states. She also said that just prior to this, her husband had severely assaulted her, leaving her with a pair of black eyes, a broken nose and other injuries, the affidavit states.
Sloper said in the affidavit that Britany Barron said she and her husband then took Amerault’s vehicle and their own north to Coos County, where they made camp and attempted to dispose of the evidence. Britany Barron said she followed orders from her husband — with whom she has three young children — to remove Amerault’s head and conceal his body and his vehicle, the affidavit states.
At her sentencing hearing in October, Britany Barron described feeling “shame and disgust” for her involvement but did not try to defend her actions; doing so, she said, would be an insult to Amerault’s family.
“I’m sorry for every single thing I’ve done to Jonathan,” she said at the hearing. “I understand that my words are meaningless and do nothing to bring back your incredible son. The only way that I can think of to try to show you that I’m really, sincerely sorry is to accept full responsibility for my actions.”
But in a victim-impact statement read at the sentencing hearing, Amerault’s mother, Justine Amerault, called Britany Barron’s actions “abhorrent, savage, evil beyond imagination, egregiously selfish, callous and self-serving.”
She described the pain her family endured between the time they realized he was missing and when authorities confirmed they’d found his body and reflected on the milestones her son will never get to experience and the potential he will never get to realize. She said his death was a devastating loss.
“Jonathan had the world in the palm of his hand,” she said at the time. “She snatched it from him, from his father, from me and from the rest of Jonathan’s extended family.”
According to WMUR, Amerault’s parents also opposed Britany Barron’s parole in a written letter that was read by the victim’s advocate Thursday and urged the parole board to keep her in custody until after she has testified against her husband. The state’s spokesperson said the victim services division at the Department of Corrections declined to share the family’s statement with The Sentinel.
A lawyer for Britany Barron has previously argued she was also a victim in this case. In January of last year, attorney Richard Guerriero argued that she should be released on bail and granted home confinement, saying she acted as she did only to avoid further harm from her husband.
The prosecution, on the other hand, at the time said she had multiple opportunities to seek help and try to get away from her husband, such as when they took separate cars to drive north.
A Coos County Superior Court judge denied Britany Barron’s request for bail at the time.
She has been incarcerated since late September 2020, after Amerault’s body was discovered by N.H. Fish and Game officers near the campsite she said she and Armando Barron had set up. Her husband, who Britany Barron said had returned to Jaffrey without her, was arrested shortly thereafter on charges related to both Amerault’s death and his wife’s alleged assault.
As conditions of her parole, Britany Barron must also engage in mental-health treatment immediately upon release, be compliant with prescribed medication, and have no contact with Amerault’s family. She also must comply with GPS monitoring for 90 days, and afterward at the parole officer’s discretion, according to the state’s spokesperson.