A judge did not rule Tuesday on a request to preserve evidence in the case of Armando Barron, a Jaffrey man charged with capital murder in the death of Keene resident Jonathan Amerault.

Barron’s attorney, Meredith Lugo, filed a motion in early October requesting that the court order the state to preserve various pieces of evidence, including notes, interviews, digital evidence and physical and trace evidence that might be subject to forensic testing.

During a hearing Tuesday morning, held virtually, Judge David Ruoff heard arguments from both the state and the defense about the request, specifically on forensic evidence that might be depleted from testing. Lugo, an attorney with the N.H. Public Defender, said there’s no certainty that issues will arise with potentially destructive testing, but that if such testing is needed, the prosecution ought to notify the court and the defense.

“What we’re asking is simply that the court require that if there is going to be destructive testing that the state seeks to conduct, that there be an item-by-item analysis ... rather than a blanket permission at the outset to conduct whatever type of destructive testing becomes necessary for any item, any type of testing.”

At the end of October, the state filed an objection to the motion to preserve. The objection says that “the State has already made — and will continue to make — every effort to preserve the evidence in this case.”

During Tuesday’s hearing, Assistant Attorney General Scott Chase argued that the defense’s request was “overly broad.” Addressing the concerns about destructive testing, he said the state intends to do a significant amount of forensic work on evidence obtained from multiple crime scenes involved in the case, but he didn’t feel it was appropriate to check in with the defense every step of the way.

“The defendant is asking the court to act as a clearinghouse for all of the state’s investigative steps going forward when it comes to testing,” Chase said. “That is not appropriate. It will surely slow things up if we have to check in with the court or check in with the defendant every time we [run a test].”

He also noted that things have already been delayed as a number of investigators who are working the case are in quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Barron was arrested Sept. 25 after police said they connected him with the death of Amerault, who had been reported missing on Sept. 21.

Barron’s wife, Britany Barron, who was charged with three counts of falsifying evidence, was arrested Sept. 24 after telling investigators she had been having an affair with Amerault and that her husband had found out about it, according to an affidavit filed in court by N.H. State Police.

According to the affidavit, Britany Barron told authorities that after her husband discovered their relationship, he lured Amerault to{span} Annett Wayside Park in Rindge during the overnight hours between Sept. 19 and 20. She said her husband ordered her to shoot Amerault, and when she did not do so, Armando Barron pulled the trigger himself, according to State Police.

She said she and her husband then took two separate vehicles, one of them Amerault’s, north to a remote part of Coos County, where they attempted to conceal Amerault’s decapitated body, his vehicle and other items involved in the crime, a State police detective wrote.

Britany Barron was found at a camp site by N.H. Fish and Game officers, who took her into custody upon discovering Amerault’s remains, according to police.

Armando Barron has also been charged with assaulting his wife, who was found to have severe bruising to her face at the time of her arrest, police said. She told authorities that her husband had beaten her prior to killing Amerault, according to the affidavit.

Both Armando and Britany Barron are being held in jail without bail.

A dispositional conference in this case is scheduled for February, and the preservation motion has been continued until that time. A specific date has not yet been set.

Mia Summerson can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or msummerson@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @MiaSummerson