FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — After five months in jail and several additional months under strict, court-mandated supervision, the murder charges facing Barry Morphew have been dismissed without prejudice.
A judge accepted the motion to dismiss after documents were filed by Linda Stanley, the District Attorney of the 11th Judicial District on Tuesday.
“Barry and his daughters were relieved,” his defense team said, “but they’re sad,” she continued, saying they, too, want to find Suzanne Morphew.
Morphew was arrested in May of 2021 and formally charged with first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and attempting to influence the public following the disappearance of Suzanne, his wife, on Mother’s Day 2020.
The trial was scheduled to begin on April 28.
Included in the prosecution’s motion, as proof of “good faith,” is the written belief that “the People and law enforcement… are close to discovering the victim’s body. The People were hopeful that the search for, and the discovery of, the victim’s body would be concluded well before trial, but weather has complicated the efforts.”
During a press conference held by Morphew’s defense on Tuesday, one of the lawyers called D.A. Linda Stanley “unethical” regarding statements she made under oath. The defense also mentioned a struggle over “discovery issues” ahead of what would have been Morphew’s trial date.
Through the motion filed Tuesday, the state wrote, “Throughout the pendency of this case, the People and law enforcement have been unrelenting in our search for Ms. Morphew. For some time, a single location has been the target of ongoing investigation. For the reasons expressed below, the People have a good faith reason to believe further investigation into this matter is essential to answering the most consequential question presented by this case. As this search cannot be accomplished in the coming weeks due to weather and snowpack conditions, the People respectfully ask this Court to dismiss the current indictment against the Defendant without prejudice.”
Without prejudice means the case could still be refiled at a later date.
Basis of dismissal
According to the filing, law enforcement believes it is close to locating the body of Suzanne Morphew.
“In typical homicide cases, the fact of the victim’s death is rarely at issue, but in a case such as this, the most influential fact of consequence is whether or not Ms. Morphew (Suzanne) is deceased. If the body proves to be there, further forensic examination could potentially inculpate or exculpate Barry Morphew,” court documents stated.
Police believe that Suzanne Morphew’s body is in a remote and mountainous region near the Morphew residence. However, weather has complicated recovery efforts, according to court documents. The area received a significant amount of snow before the search could be completed.
“To date, the area has 5 feet of snow concealing the location where the People believe Ms. Morphew is located. As a result, the People cannot safely excavate this area and resolve this unanswered question,” court documents showed.
The state said it spoke with the family of Suzanne Morphew and they agreed with the motion to dismiss. Court documents said the family expressed to “resolve absolutely whether or not Suzanne is dead, prior to further prosecution.”
In March, attorneys for Barry Morphew asked that the case be dismissed because they say prosecutors intentionally withheld massive amounts of evidence prior to the preliminary hearing and probable cause would not have been found.
Catch up with the case
- Timeline: What we know about the disappearance of Suzanne Morphew
- Where was Barry Morphew on May 9 and 10?
- 130 pages of arrest documents released in Barry Morphew case
- Court releases evidence in Morphew investigation from preliminary hearing
- Barry Morphew arrested on murder charge in disappearance of wife Suzanne Morphew
- ‘It has been a hard and confusing time’: Barry Morphew’s daughters plead for court to allow their father to visit