Juror Dismissed From Trial Of Man In Beheading Case

KEENE, N.H. (AP) — A male juror was dismissed Thursday from the trial of a New Hampshire man who is accused of killing his wife's co-worker when he found out they were texting and forcing her to decapitate him, court officials said.

WMUR-TV reported the dismissal. A reason wasn't immediately known; a court spokesperson was seeking information. A 12-member jury had been picked for the trial of Armando Barron, with four alternates. The trial started Tuesday and was expected to last over two weeks.

Prosecutors allege that Barron, 32, used his wife’s cellphone in September 2020 to lure Jonathan Amerault, 25, to a park just north of the Massachusetts state line the night he discovered the texts, beat and kicked Amerault and and tried to force his wife to shoot him. She refused, and he eventually forced Amerault into the victim's car and shot him three times, prosecutors said.

His wife, Britany Barron, testified that she was forced to drive the car 200 miles north (322 kilometers) to a remote campsite. There, she said she was forced to behead Amerault and dispose of his body.

An investigator testified Thursday that the head was found buried in mud about 3 feet (1 meter) deep in the area. A revolver with five rounds, three of them fired, also was recovered.

Armando Barron pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping, and other charges. His lawyers argue that his wife shot Amerault, which she denies.

She finished testifying early Thursday morning, answering yes to a defense lawyer's questions that she attempted to burn items belonging to Amerault, wiped down his vehicle and tried to hide it, wrapped his headless body in a tarp, and dragged it to a creek.

She also agreed she was not charged with assaulting Amerault. She had earlier testified that her husband made her stand on his neck and slit his wrists.

Britany, who asked that lawyers use her maiden name, Mitchell, 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.

A state police investigator testified Thursday that Britany cooperated with police after she was found at the campsite, agreeing to give them information about where the head was buried and other evidence. She agreed to have a DNA sample taken.

The investigator took photos of injuries she had — black eyes and bruises to her face, neck and arms. Prosecutors said her husband caused them.