Armando Barron sentenced to life in prison for murdering Jonathan Amerault

·4 min read

May 27—Armando Barron has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering Keene resident Jonathan Amerault in September 2020.

During the Jaffrey resident's sentencing hearing in Cheshire County Superior Court on Friday — a day after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and a slew of other crimes — Judge Elizabeth Leonard said she had absolutely no hesitation in imposing the sentence.

"Your actions were brutal, were absolutely horrific; they were selfish, and they were completely senseless," Leonard said. "The abject cruelty, the pain and suffering and all that you inflicted on Jonathan that night is unfathomable."

Barron, 33, flew into a rage on the night of Sept. 19, 2020, upon learning his wife, Britany Barron, was flirting with Amerault. Barron then lured him to a state park in Rindge and killed him there, the prosecution said during the two-week murder trial.

Amerault, 25, was missing for days before authorities found his remains at a campsite in northern New Hampshire. He was an avid hiker who grew up in Milford and volunteered regularly at the Souhegan Valley Boys and Girls Club there.

In a victim's impact statement read aloud during Friday's sentencing hearing, Amerault's mother, Justine, said her son "had the most beautiful inner light." He worked as an engineer at Teleflex Medical in Jaffrey and had just bought a home in Keene before his death.

"Evil recognized Jonathan's inner light, and evil tried to extinguish it," Justine Amerault said amid tears. "But there are some who bring a light so great to those around them that even after they have gone, the light remains."

Justine Amerault said whatever sentence Leonard imposed on Armando Barron would pale in comparison to the condemnation she said he'll face when judged by God.

"Rest in peace, Jonathan," she said. "Your light remains with us."

In addition to life in prison, the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder, Leonard sentenced Armando Barron to an additional 45 years on charges of kidnapping, two counts of criminal solicitation of murder, two counts of criminal solicitation of first-degree assault, and second-degree assault. He also was ordered to pay about $13,000 in restitution to Amerault's family.

The sentence Leonard imposed was in line with what Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati, who prosecuted the case, had recommended.

"If Jonathan was with us, just first-degree murder was not here, we would still be asking for this sentence, for the myriad of range of monstrous events that took place here in Cheshire County," Agati said.

Meredith Lugo, one of the public defenders representing Armando Barron, had requested the judge impose a lesser sentence on the charges other than first-degree murder. Armando Barron did not have a prior criminal record, was a stay-at-home dad who homeschooled his children, and experienced violence and homelessness growing up, Lugo said.

The defense — which argued during the trial that Britany Barron, not her husband, fired the gunshot that killed Amerault — plans to appeal Armando Barron's conviction, Lugo said.

Armando Barron has yet to be sentenced on three counts of domestic violence, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of reckless conduct in which Britany Barron was the victim.

Taking the stand for several hours during the trial, Britany Barron, 33, described a horrific chain of events that led up to Amerault's murder.

The night of Sept. 19, 2020, she said, Armando Barron found Snapchat messages between her and Amerault. She said he beat her, then took her to Annett Wayside Park in Rindge and used her phone to lure Amerault there, striking her in the face as he drove.

When Amerault arrived, Britany Barron said her husband assaulted him, put a gun in her hand, and ordered her to shoot Amerault. When she refused, Armando told her to step on Amerault's neck and cut his wrists, she testified. Then she said Armando forced Amerault into the back of his own vehicle and shot him three times.

Britany Barron testified she feared for her life as she and Armando drove separate vehicles to a campsite north of Errol, where she removed Amerault's head from his body, dragged his corpse into the woods and helped conceal his car on her husband's orders.

Wearing orange prison garb with his hands cuffed in front of him, Armando Barron stood silently as Leonard read his sentence. When asked by the judge if he would like to provide a statement, he declined.

In his victim's impact statement, Jonathan Amerault's father, Kenneth Amerault, addressed Barron directly.

"The only good thing I see about this heinous, heinous crime," he said, "is that you are not 40 years old, 50, or 60, but only 30 years old. You have a long, long time to fade away and rot in prison."

Ashley Saari of the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript and Paul Cuno-Booth for the Granite State News Collaborative contributed to this report.

Ryan Spencer can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1412, or rspencer@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @rspencerKS