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The woman who says she was forced to behead her coworker after her husband killed him took the stand in a New Hampshire courtroom to recount the disturbing 2020 murder.
Armando Barron, 32, stands accused of killing Jonathan Amerault, 25, after discovering what he perceived as an affair between the victim and his wife, who were employees at the same company. On Wednesday, the defendant’s wife, Britany Barron, testified that Barron tried to get her to shoot her Amerault but that she had refused to do so, according to the Keene Sentinel.
Barron’s murder trial began on Tuesday and his defense attorneys have argued it was Britany – and not Barron – who killed Amerault, according to the Associated Press.
“The wrong person is on trial,” said Barron’s attorney, Morgan Taggart-Hampton, at the start of trial.
On Wednesday, Britany admitted that she and Amerault met at Teleflex, where she worked as a machine operator. She and the victim began exchanging texts and Snapchat messages and kissed on two occasions, she testified. Barron allegedly found their correspondence on Sept. 19, 2020, and allegedly began an campaign of domestic violence against the mother of his three children. He started by allegedly putting a gun in Britany’s mouth while at their Jaffrey, New Hampshire, home.
“You know you’re going to die tonight, right?” Barron said, according to Britany’s testimony.
The couple’s daughters were sent to their grandmother’s house next door before the pair left for a Rindge, New Hampshire park. On the drive, Barron allegedly struck Britany after reading each one of her texts aloud, according to the Associated Press.
“Don’t do anything stupid or the girls are going to walk into something (expletive) gruesome,” Britany recounted him saying.
After the couple arrived at the park – just north of the Massachusetts state border – Barron allegedly posed as his wife and used her phone to lure Amerault to their location. Britany, who sobbed through much of her testimony, alleged Barron beat Amerault when he arrived, including stomping on the victim’s face.
Britany admitted that she stepped on the victim’s neck and cut the victim’s wrists, but said she did so at the direction of her husband. But when Barron put a gun in her hand and demanded she shoot Amerault, Britany said she refused.
The trio returned to Amerault’s car, where Barron allegedly shot Amerault twice in the chest and once in the head.
On Barron’s command, Britany said she drove Amerault’s vehicle with the body toward the town of Errol – some 200 miles north – as Barron followed. At one point, they pulled over so that Barron could buy supplies.
Prosecutors asked why Britany didn’t escape Barron then, according to the Sentinel.
“I wasn’t gonna test him,” Britany responded. “I knew what he had just done, what I had just witnessed, what I had just been through myself. At that point, I was gonna do exactly what this man says.”
When they arrived at an Errol campsite, Barron allegedly ordered Britany to remove Amerault’s head using a saw brought from their home, according to the Associated Press.
“He said that we needed to cut off his head so that there would be no dental records of the body,” Britany stated.
Barron allegedly left his wife with Amerault’s corpse, instructing her to bury the head separately from the rest of the body. There he left her for the next few days.
“He said I needed to have Jonathan’s body buried by Tuesday afternoon,” Britany said on the stand. "And then he said he was gonna bring the girls on Friday so I could give them a big hug and a kiss, and I could tell them that I love them. And then he said, ‘You know you’re not coming home with us, right?’ You’re gonna stay here.’”
Fish and Game officers encountered Britany, informing her that she wasn’t allowed to camp at that location when they found her with Amerault’s decapitated body several days later.
The victim’s mother, Justine Amerault, took the stand Tuesday, agreeing with attorneys that Amerault and Britany’s “affair” was nothing more than harmless flirting.
“All he did was respond to her text messages for eight days during the last 10 days of his life,” she said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.
Amerault was described as an engineer who loved hiking, having scaled 66 of the 67 4,000-plus foot mountains of northern New England, according to the Associated Press. He’d also served in the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley and as a camp counselor.
Justine Amerault testified that she knew of Britany through Amerault, who claimed Britany was stuck in an abusive relationship but wanted out.
“Throughout his life, Jonathan was surrounded by hundreds of the most wholesome good people … coworkers, friends, and family,” said the victim’s mother in her e-mail. “It’s beyond comprehension that such a beautiful young man should die in the presence of two such filthy, evil creatures.”
Last year, Britany pleaded guilty to three counts of falsifying evidence and is currently out on parole.
Barron stands charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, assault, and soliciting murder, according to the Sentinel. He also faces a number of domestic violence charges.
The trial is expected to continue until June 3.
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