Jaffrey man charged with murder in Rindge state park

  • Annett State Park in Rindge, where police say a Jaffrey man lured his wife's lover and killed him before the couple disposed of his body in the north woods of New Hampshire. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Armando Barron Courtesy photo—

  • Jonathan Amerault Courtesy photo

  • Armando Barron, 30, of Jaffrey, was arraigned at the Cheshire Superior Court on Friday afternoon, via teleconference. Courtesy photo—

  • Armando Barron, 30, of Jaffrey, was arraigned at the Cheshire Superior Court on Friday afternoon, via teleconference. Courtesy photo—

  • Annett State Park in Rindge, where police say a Jaffrey man lured his wife's lover and killed him before the couple disposed of his body in the north woods of New Hampshire. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Annett State Park in Rindge, where police say a Jaffrey man lured his wife's lover and killed him before the couple disposed of his body in the north woods of New Hampshire. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/25/2020 2:56:04 PM

A Jaffrey man has been accused of killing a Keene man in Annett State Park in Rindge, transporting the body to the North Country, and coercing his wife to decapitate the body to make identification more difficult.

Armando Barron, 30, of Jaffrey was arrested and charged with capital murder for allegedly shooting and killing Jonathan Amerault, 25, of Keene.

Barron allegedly shot Amerault three times – once in the head – at the Rindge state park sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning after discovering his wife was having an affair with Amerault, according to an affidavit filed with the Cheshire Superior Court by Sgt. Stephen Sloper of the New Hampshire State Police. His wife, who was badly beaten and faced deadly threats from Barron, detailed the events of the murder and body disposal in an interview with the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit on Tuesday.

She has been charged by the Attorney General’s Office with three counts of falsifying physical evidence for allegedly altering, destroying, concealing, or removing items of physical evidence to impede the investigation. Despite facing those charges, the Ledger-Transcript is not naming her because of the documented abuse she endured.

Assault, murder and cover-up

According to police documents, Barron’s wife and Amerault worked together at Teleflex, a Jaffrey manufacturer. When police first began a search for Amerault after he failed to come to work or call in sick on Monday, officers were told by Teleflex employees that both Amerault and his close co-worker Barron’s wife had not reported for work that morning. The woman had spoken to human resources staff at the company that morning to inform them of her intent to resign.

She told police that her husband Armando Barron discovered she had been having an affair with Amerault after going through her cell phone on Sept. 19. Barron then allegedly assaulted her in their bathroom, striking her several times in the face and the head, causing injuries to her eyes and nose, according to police affidavits.

He allegedly continued the assault in their bedroom, including putting a gun in her mouth and choking her until she lost consciousness.

During that night, either on Saturday or early on Sunday morning, Armando Barron allegedly used his wife’s phone to send a text to Amerault, pretending to be her and arranging to meet Amerault at Annett State Park in Rindge.

While driving to the park, Armando Barron continued to assault his wife, according to court documents. When Amerault arrived at Annett State Park, Armando Barron assaulted him, before handing his wife a gun and ordering her to shoot him, according to police reports. She refused, and then Armando Barron told her to kill Amerault by stepping on his throat. She confessed to putting her foot on Amerault’s throat, but told police she did not apply force.

Amerault was ordered at gunpoint into the back hatch of his own vehicle, where Armando then directed his wife to slice Amerault’s wrists with a blade, which she did, she told police.

After injuring Amerault’s wrists, the Barrons got into Amerault’s car; the woman told police Armando Barron turned and fired a Taurus Judge handgun three times, hitting Amerault twice in the chest and once in the head.

The Barrons returned to their Jaffrey home and packed for camping before driving Amerault’s Subaru Impreza – with his body inside – as well as a separate vehicle to a camping area off Abbott Brook Road in Atkinson and Gilmanton Academy Grant, an unincorporated township near Errol in northern New Hampshire.

According to the wife’s statement to police, Armando Barron told her “once the sun came up the next morning, he would forgive her.”

Along the way, Armando Barron allegedly stopped at a general store, where he purchased two tarps, lighter fluid, a container of cleaning fluid, and a shovel.

According to court documents, while at the campsite, Armando Barron directed his wife to cut off Amerault’s head to make identifying him by dental records impossible, and to wrap the body in a tarp. She said she used a small saw to remove Amerault’s head, wrapped it up, and the two put it in a grave Armando Barron dug before burying it.

Armando Barron then destroyed Amerault’s phone and instructed his wife to send text messages from her phone to some of her contacts to tell people she was alright and planning on leaving for a while, according to court documents.

Armando Barron drove back to Jaffrey, where police spotted his 2008 Jeep Patriot outside his Main Street home Monday morning. Police questioned Armando Barron about his wife’s disappearance. Armando Barron allegedly told police that he had last seen her on Sunday morning at 2 a.m., when he dropped her off at the Temple Mountain parking lot to go camping with friends. Armando Barron said he was despondent about the state of their marriage and had not wanted to return home, so he drove to Errol and back.

On Tuesday, police investigating Amerault’s disappearance made contact with Armando Barron by phone and asked him to come into the Jaffrey Police Department; according to the police report, Armando Barron said he couldn’t come because he was bringing his 9-year-old daughter to a campsite in the north country to meet her mother and to explain to their daughter that they were separating or getting a divorce.

On Wednesday, Armando Barron allegedly told family members that he intended to purchase food to stockpile at their campsite due to COVID-19, before traveling to the Home Depot in Keene and purchasing several bags of soil, buckets, and bags of cement he told family members were to bury the food at their campsite so that animals could not get at it, according to police.

Hunters discover campsite

A group of three hunters north of Errol spotted the Barrons driving on a logging road on Sunday near where the trio was hunting for bear. The group told police they had warned the Barrons that they were near a bear baiting site. The hunters returned to the area Monday and found the Barrons’ campsite, but no one was around, they told police. They returned again Tuesday and found the wife there. The hunters again warned her about the bear baiting site and informed her that she was not in a legal camping area, police said, before reporting her to Fish and Game. Fish and Game officers located the campsite in the woods and found her there with a pistol. The officers told her she was not allowed to camp in the area; as she was packing, she allegedly told officers “I’m in big trouble.”

The Fish and Game officers noticed a brown tarp, under which they found Amerault’s Subaru Impreza. The woman was taken into custody and transported to the Berlin Police Department before being taken to the Androscoggin Valley Hospital to be treated for the injuries she sustained from the repeated assaults by her husband, according to court records.

State police investigators located Amerault’s headless body wrapped in another tarp placed in a small brook nearby. Amerault’s head was later found buried near the campsite. Investigators also discovered a Taurus Judge handgun, shell casings, bloody clothing, a saw, machete, hacksaw and a small knife.

At the Berlin Police Department, state police investigators interviewed Barron’s wife, who told police that Armando Barron had killed Amerault and that she’d helped dispose of the body. She also detailed Armando Barron’s assaults following his discovery of the affair and directed them to the trail at Annett State Park where the alleged murder took place and to a burn pile where the couple had set fire to Amerault’s identification and personal effects.

Police issued a warrant for Armando’s arrest on the assault charges and a be-on-the-lookout call for Armando and their 9-year-old daughter. Police in Jaffrey located Armando Barron’s Jeep parked in the MilliporeSigma parking lot Tuesday night, covered in mud on the outside and blood within. Police then searched the Barrons’ Main Street home Wednesday morning and discovered that Armando Barron’s stepfather’s gold Toyota Tundra was missing and determined Armando Barron was likely driving it. Using cell phone tower records, police determined Armando Barron was likely driving back to Errol; State Police located Armando Barron and his daughter in the gold Tundra and took him into custody, charging him with domestic violence with physical contact, domestic violence criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, and second-degree assault. On Friday morning, police formally charged Armando Barron with capital murder. He was arraigned Friday afternoon in Cheshire County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty; he is being held in preventative detention at the Cheshire County House of Corrections. Armando Barron’s dispositional conference is scheduled for Nov. 4 at 8:30 a.m.

Barron’s wife was arraigned in Coos County Superior Court Friday afternoon; she pleaded not guilty to all three charges and is being held in preventative detention.

Her lawyer, Richard Guerriero, asked for bail, arguing that everything she did leading to her three charges was under duress following her husband beating her and threatening her with death. State Assistant Attorney General Scott D. Chase said that she had ample opportunity to escape the situation during the three-and-a-half drive from Rindge to the North Country and again after Armando Barron left the campsite. Bail was denied.

Editor’s note: The name of Armando Barron’s wife has been removed from this article. Despite facing serious criminal charges, the Ledger-Transcript is not naming her because of the documented abuse she endured.

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