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‘Your Actions Were Brutal, Were Absolutely Horrific’: Judge Hands Down Life Sentence to Man Who Murdered Wife’s Coworker Over Snapchat Messages

Armando Barron hears his fate

Armando Barron in court as the jury returned guilty verdicts against him on all 13 counts, including murder.

A 33-year-old New Hampshire man will spend the rest of his days behind bars for brutally killing his wife’s co-worker then forcing his spouse to behead and dismember the victim’s corpse, according to court documents obtained by Law&Crime.

Cheshire County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth M. Leonard handed down a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional 45 to 135 years to Armando Barron for the gruesome September 2020 murder of 25-year-old Jonathan Amerault.

“You are going to be spending a very long time in the state prison for these heinous crimes,” Judge Leonard said during Friday’s sentencing hearing, according to a report from the New Hampshire Union Leader. “The depravity of your actions and single-handedly causing immense suffering and the death of Jonathan Amerault show an extreme indifference to the value of human life. Your actions were brutal, were absolutely horrific. They were selfish, and they were completely senseless. The abject cruelty, the pain and suffering and all that you inflicted on Jonathan that night is unfathomable.”

Judge Leonard also emphasized that she had no trouble in handing down the sentence for Armando Barron’s horrific crimes.

“One of the hardest parts of my job is often sentencing in cases and finding the appropriate balance to strike in imposing a fair sentence,” the judge said. “However, I have absolutely no hesitation or reservation in imposing the sentences I am about to impose on you, given your actions and the crimes you committed and were convicted for in this case.”

As previously reported by Law&Crime, a Cheshire Country jury on Thursday found Barron guilty on 13 criminal charges, including first-degree murder, criminal solicitation of murder, criminal solicitation of assault, and kidnapping. The motive the state provided for the murder was jealousy and rage–a hate that brewed for quite some time after the defendant realized his wife, 33-year Britany Barron, was exchanging flirtatious messages with the victim on Snapchat.

According to prosecutors, on the evening of Sept. 19, 2020, Armando Barron learned about the messages and lured Amerault to Annett Wayside State Park in Rindge, New Hampshire where he kidnapped, assaulted, and fatally shot the victim.

Authorities with the state’s Fish and Game Department discovered Amerault’s remains several days later at a camp site in northern New Hampshire. The officers reportedly came across Britany Barron at the site along with Amerault’s headless corpse.

Britany testified against her husband during his two-week murder trial, recounting how he brutalized her before and after the killing.

Before the shooting, Britany Barron told jurors that her husband choked and dragged her before repeatedly punching her in the face over the Snapchat revelations. After that, she said he shoved a gun in her mouth, promised to kill her, collected himself, made sure their kids were with their grandmother, and put his killing plan into action.

“We’re gonna message your little boyfriend,” the defendant told his wife as the two sat alone in their car at the park.

Amerault was ambushed by Armando Barron when he arrived at the park, drawn there by the subterfuge of the defendant using his wife’s cell phone to ask the victim to come out late that night.

“You’re trying to fuck my wife?” Armando said when he confronted Amerault, according to Britany Barron. “And he starts hitting him. He just starts hitting him.”

Britany Barron said Amerault fell to the ground and was repeatedly kicked by her husband, who stomped on his face at least once. After relenting briefly, Britany said Armando trained his gun on her and forced her to take part in the beating by standing on the victim’s neck. She said Armando then forced her to slit Amerault’s wrists. After that, the witness said, her husband hacked at the victim with a machete.

When pressed to kill Amerault, Britany testified that she adamantly refused.

“Kill him,” Armando Barron told her. “Shoot him. Do it.”

She said she couldn’t.

Eventually, Amerault was forced into the trunk of his own hatchback by his assailant.

“I thought you were going to let me live,” the victim said.

“I guess that makes both of us liars,” Armando said as he fired three times, according to his wife’s tearful testimony.

Prosecutors would later note that Amerault suffered multiple defensive wounds and was trying to save his own life when he died.

The victim’s mother, Justine Amerault, read a victim impact statement aloud during Friday’s hearing, in which she referred to Armando as a “verminous, conniving, murderous beast” that is “lower than the excrement of filth.”

“Evil recognized Jonathan’s inner light, and evil tried to extinguish it,” a tearful Justine said, according to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. “But there are some who bring a light so great to those around them that even after they have gone, the light remains.”

Friday’s sentencing only encompassed the seven charges involving the kidnapping, assault, and murder of Amerault. He will be sentenced on the remaining six charges—which relate to crimes committed against his wife—at a second hearing that has not yet been scheduled.

See the sentencing documents, below.

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

[image via screengrab/WMUR]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.