Forecast of thunderstorms delays local murder trial until Tuesday

  • Armando Barron of Jaffrey enters a Cheshire County Superior Court room in Keene for his final pre-trial hearing Friday morning. Barron is accused of murdering Jonathan Amerault of Keene. His trial is set to begin in May. (Hannah Schroeder/ Sentinel Staff) Hannah Schroeder/ Keene Sentinel

Published: 5/16/2022 7:57:46 AM
Modified: 5/16/2022 7:55:58 AM

The trial of a Jaffrey man charged with murdering Keene resident Jonathan Amerault in 2020 will be delayed by one day to Tuesday, a court spokeswoman said Friday.

Armando Barron’s trial was scheduled to start Monday with a “view,” where jurors will be led along parts of the route that prosecutors allege he and his wife, Britany, traveled the night Amerault was killed, including to Annett State Park in Rindge and sections of Route 202 and Main Street in Jaffrey. But with thunderstorms forecasted for the area on Monday, court spokeswoman Tammy L. Jackson said the trial will begin Tuesday instead.

“We didn’t want the jurors (and court staff, attorneys, and security personnel) to be walking around outside during thunderstorms,” Jackson said in an email to The Sentinel on Friday afternoon. “The anticipated conditions presented a safety issue.”

Meanwhile, Jackson said jury selection for the trial wrapped up Friday. Throughout the week, lawyers for the prosecution and defense questioned potential jurors, whittling the initial pool of 223 people down to a jury of 16. Of those 16, Judge Elizabeth Leonard will randomly select four as alternates at the end of the trial, while the other 12 will deliberate and issue a verdict. The trial could last three weeks, through Friday, June 3, according to the court.

Armando Barron, 32, is charged with first-degree murder, which carries a maximum punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors have accused him of a slew of crimes in addition to murder, including solicitation of murder, solicitation of first-degree assault and domestic-violence charges that allege he assaulted his wife and told her to harm Amerault. He also faces kidnapping, attempted murder, second-degree assault and reckless-conduct charges.

Law-enforcement officers discovered Amerault’s body in an unincorporated area of Coos County, a day after he had been reported missing on Sept. 21, 2020, according to an affidavit written by N.H. State Police Sgt. Stephen Sloper.

Britany Barron told police her husband used her cellphone to lure Amerault to Annett State Park sometime overnight on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20, 2020, after discovering she and Amerault were romantically involved, Sloper wrote in the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Britany Barron said her husband severely assaulted her just before they arrived at the park, where he ordered her to shoot Amerault and, after she refused, shot and killed him himself.

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, Sloper wrote. Both Barrons were arrested after hunters discovered Britany Barron at the camp and called N.H. Fish and Game, who detained her upon finding what appeared to be a body wrapped in a tarp, the affidavit states.

Britany Barron, 32, pleaded guilty in Grafton County Superior Court in September to three counts of falsifying evidence, and was granted parole last month. She is expected to testify during next week’s trial.

 

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org. 


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