Editor’s note: This story contains descriptions of extreme violence, including of one of the defendants’ account of domestic violence. These details were included as they’re important to the case.
The woman charged with falsifying evidence in the murder of a Keene resident told officers that her husband ordered her to kill the man, and then pulled the trigger himself after she refused, according to an affidavit written by police.
According to the affidavit, Britany Barron, 31, of Jaffrey, told investigators from the N.H. State Police Major Crime Unit that her husband, Armando Barron, 30, also of Jaffrey, used her cellphone to lure Jonathan Amerault, 25, of Keene, to Annett State Park in Rindge during the overnight hours between last Saturday and Sunday. There, the affidavit states, Armando Barron assaulted Amerault and then ordered his wife to shoot him, Britany Barron told police.
Britany Barron told police that her husband had discovered she had been in a relationship with Amerault after going through her cellphone on Saturday, according to the affidavit.
“Britany Barron would not place her finger on the trigger,” the affidavit says, summarizing her account. “When she did not shoot him, Armando removed the gun from her hand.”
Britany Barron said her husband ordered Amerault into his own vehicle, a gray Subaru Impreza, according to the affidavit. She told investigators that once they were all in the car, Armando Barron ordered her to slice Amerault’s wrists, which she did, the affidavit states.
After that, she told investigators, her husband turned around and fired three shots, two of which struck Amerault in the chest, one in the head, Sgt. Stephen Sloper of N.H. State Police wrote in the affidavit.
Amerault had been reported missing on Monday morning after he did not show up to work, State Police said in a news release issued that night, noting that friends and family had not heard from him since Saturday. Amerault worked at Teleflex Medical OEM, a medical supply company in Jaffrey,
Authorities announced Wednesday that they had found a body, later confirmed to be Amerault’s, in northern Coos County.
According to the affidavit, Britany Barron also worked at Teleflex. She called on Monday morning to notify the company’s human resources staff that she would not be coming in and also that she was planning to quit, Sloper wrote.
Britany Barron told investigators that, prior to leaving for Annett State Park, and again during the drive there, her husband assaulted her, leaving her with a pair of black eyes and injuries to her nose, the affidavit states. She told investigators that while still in their home, her husband put a gun in her mouth and attempted to strangle her, Sloper wrote, adding that she said this was witnessed by the couple’s 9-year-old daughter.
After her husband shot Amerault, Britany Barron said, he ordered her to drive Amerault’s car, with his body inside, north toward Errol, to an area where the Barrons had frequently camped, Sloper wrote. Armando Barron followed behind in his own vehicle, a Jeep Patriot, according to the affidavit.
Once in Errol, Britany Barron told police, her husband stopped at a general store and purchased tarps, lighter fluid, household cleaner and a shovel. Then after traveling into the woods and making camp, Britany Barron said Armando ordered her to remove Amerault’s head so he could not be identified via dental records, according to the affidavit. She said she did so, and it was buried separately, Sloper wrote.
At some point, Britany Barron said she saw her husband burn several items from inside Amerault’s car, including his identification, which was later found at the burn site, according to the affidavit.
She told police she was ordered to wrap Amerault’s body in a tarp and dig another grave, and said her husband intended to bring Amerault’s phone back to Keene to send out text messages saying that he was all right, according to the affidavit. Instead, after getting word that police were looking for his wife, the plan changed, Sloper wrote.
“Armando Barron ordered Britany to come with him to an area where there was cell phone service,” the affidavit says. “Shortly thereafter, Armando stopped the car and smashed Jonathan’s phone on a rock. Armando gave part of the smashed phone to Britany.” They threw the separate parts of the phone out of the vehicle from both sides somewhere north of Errol, according to the affidavit.
Britany Barron said her husband then ordered her to send text messages to tell people that she was all right, but would be “leaving for a while to clear her head.” Investigators spoke to a friend of hers, who showed them messages Britany Barron sent between 11 a.m. Sunday and 4 p.m. Monday saying that she would be moving to New Mexico, where her sister lives, to get a fresh start, according to the affidavit.
After discarding the phone, they went back to the campsite and Britany Barron said her husband told her he needed to go back to their house and ordered her to dispose of Amerault’s body before his return Friday, Sloper wrote. He left her with a pair of guns, including the one allegedly used to kill Amerault, saying they were to defend against wildlife, the affidavit states.
On multiple occasions on Sunday and Monday, hunters came into contact with either the Barrons or their campsite, according to the affidavit. On Tuesday morning, two of them went to the campsite and encountered Britany Barron, Sloper wrote. They informed her that camping was prohibited in that area and later they called N.H. Fish and Game to notify them of the violation.
A pair of Fish and Game conservation officers found Britany at the site and advised her that she should not to be camping in that area. They also observed an object under a large tarp and covered with sticks and branches, which was later identified as Amerault’s vehicle, the affidavit states. At one point while packing up the camp, the officers heard her say, “I’m in big trouble,” according to Sloper.
The affidavit says that those officers returned later at Britany Barron’s request to retrieve something from the campsite, and noticed “drag marks in the mud.” One of the officers, according to Sloper, then spotted what appeared to be a body wrapped in a tarp in a nearby brook. She was taken into custody shortly thereafter.
Police made contact with Armando Barron outside of his residence late Monday evening and asked if he knew where his wife was, Sloper wrote. He told them he had last seen her at 2 a.m. Sunday after dropping her off on the side of the road near Temple Mountain, according to the affidavit. He said she had told him she was going camping with friends, the affidavit states.
On Tuesday evening, investigators contacted Armando Barron asking to speak with him about his wife’s disappearance, according to the affidavit. He declined, Sloper wrote, and told police he intended to go camping with his daughter.
“He said he was bringing their 9-year-old daughter to explain, what I interpreted as, that he and Britany may be getting a divorce,” Sloper wrote. He eventually agreed to meet with authorities in Jaffrey, but the affidavit says he never showed up.
On Wednesday, police were at the Barron residence in Main Street in Jaffrey when they learned that a gold Toyota Tundra belonging to Armando Barron’s stepfather, who lives in an adjoined home, was missing, according to the affidavit.
A vehicle matching that description was seen driving through N.H. State Police Troop F’s territory in the northern part of the state. The vehicle was pursued, and police discovered Armando Barron behind the wheel, with his daughter as a passenger, Sloper wrote. He was taken into custody and charged with assaulting his wife, and later for capital murder in Amerault’s death.
Britany Barron has been charged with three counts of falsifying evidence, alleging she mutilated and concealed Amerault’s body and attempted to clean his car, according to the affidavit.
Armando Barron pleaded not guilty and was ordered detained at his arraignment Friday in Cheshire County Superior Court.
Britany Barron also pleaded not guilty and was ordered detained, after an impassioned argument from defense attorney Richard Guerriero, who said his client participated in the crime only because she feared for her life.
“This really started with her being beaten severely,” Guerriero said. “If you look at her face right now ... she still has the bruising on her face and around her eyes and it’s described in the affidavit. Armando beat her severely and threatened her. He put a gun in her mouth, an obvious threat to kill her.”
Assistant Attorney General Scott Chase argued that by Britany Barron’s own statements, she participated in violent actions, including cutting Amerault’s wrists. He also said there were multiple occasions when she could have sought help, such as when she drove Amerault’s car north alone with a cellphone, for a 3½-hour period, or when she encountered hunters near the camp while Armando Barron was away.
Judge Peter Bornstein ultimately agreed with the state and ordered Britany Barron to be held without bail.