CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The wife of a New Hampshire man accused of killing her co-worker after he discovered they were texting — and then forcing her to behead him — denied shooting him Wednesday, saying her husband choked and punched her and eventually put his gun into her mouth that night.
“You know that you’re going to die tonight, right?” Britany Barron, 33, testified her husband, Armando Barron, said in September 2020, not long before the two left the house to go to the park where he allegedly used her phone to tell the co-worker to meet her there.
“Don’t do anything stupid or the girls are going to walk into something (expletive) gruesome,” she testified he said as they were leaving. He had sent the couple’s three young children to go to their grandmother’s home next door.
She also testified that just a week earlier, she had told Armando she no longer loved him and wanted a divorce. When he heard that, he grabbed her throat and started choking her, saying, “Are you serious?”
Britany, who asked a prosecutor in the Keene courtroom to address her by her maiden name, Mitchell, denied early in her testimony that she was the one who shot Jonathan Amerault, as a defense lawyer alleged during opening statements Tuesday. She pointed to her husband as the shooter.
Barron pleaded not guilty to killing Amerault, 25. He acknowledged in court Tuesday that he had struck Britany, broke her nose, attempted to strangle her, and kicked Amerault in the head.
Prosecutors allege that Armando Barron, 32, used his wife’s cellphone to lure Amerault to the park just north of the Massachusetts state line the night he discovered the texts, assaulted Amerault and tried to force his wife to shoot him. She refused. He also forced her to stand on his neck and slit his wrists, they said. Armando Barron eventually forced Amerault into the back of the victim’s car and had his wife drive it 200 miles (322 kilometers) to a remote campsite.
There, Armando Barron allegedly forced her to cut off Amerault’s head and bury it and wrap the body in a tarp. He left her to dispose of the body and returned home, according to court documents.
Britany testified that she and Amerault got to know each other better while working on a project in the days leading to his death and communicated via texting and social media apps. One afternoon, they drove to a nearby park after work and talked. She described him as kind, sweet and funny.
“I said I couldn’t offer anything more than friendship,” she testified, and later gave him a quick kiss when he returned her to work so she could get her car. They shared one more kiss during a work break that week, a day before the texts were discovered.
Britany pleaded guilty last year to three counts of falsifying evidence and was released from jail on parole last month. She apologized to Amerault’s family during her sentencing.
The Associated Press had not been naming the couple in order not to identify Britany Barron, who said she suffered extreme abuse. Through her lawyer, she recently agreed to the use of her name.