Barry Morphew’s preliminary hearing begins Monday


CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — An emergency status conference was held Friday afternoon for Barry Morphew. Morphew was not in court but was tuning in through WebEx only by audio.

Morphew faces first-degree murder in connection to the disappearance of his wife, Suzanne. She was reported missing in Chaffee County on Mother’s Day weekend 2020.

Morphew’s 130-page arrest affidavit remains sealed.

Morphew’s attorneys Dru Neilsen and Iris Eytan filed a motion to hear additional arguments about the state’s violations on handing over the discovery. Due to COVID-19 Judge Patrick Murphy’s schedule is booked until late in the year.

Morphew is scheduled to appear in court on Monday and Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. The judge gave the defense time to discuss whether to push the hearing back until another status hearing could be scheduled to hear arguments.

“He doesn’t want to sit in jail until November knowing he is innocent,” Attorney Iris Eytan said. “He did not commit these crimes and he should not be sitting another day in jail with them monitoring his every move, every piece of mail, every bible phrase that he reads, and every time he uses the bathroom.”

According to his attorney Iris Eytan, eight witnesses and 450 exhibits will be presented in the first two days of the four-day hearing.

Eytan asked Judge Patrick Murphy again for a bond for Morphew on Friday, but the judge did not grant it. She also asked for attorney fees to be paid for due to the extra work they’ve put in to comb through the discovery to find out what they do or don’t have.

At the last status hearing two weeks ago Judge Murphy ruled the prosecution did violate his orders on handing over all of the evidence in June. The state had seven days to provide the defense with all of the evidence. The state said this is an ongoing investigation so the evidence keeps rolling in.

On Friday, Judge Patrick Murphy said that 7,000 pages were given to the defense at the end of July and an additional 1,190 pages on August 2. He added that there are more than 500 hours of video evidence. He was concerned along with the defense about the preliminary hearing taking longer than four days. The state assured the court that four days would be enough time.

Morphew’s attorney requested the judge to require the prosecution to give them a list and an order of the witnesses slated to take the stand at the preliminary hearing. The state responded, saying there is no requirement for them to hand over a list of witnesses but did so anyway. However, the judge wanted to make sure the preliminary hearing wouldn’t go over the allotted time so he is requiring the state to give the order of witnesses and an estimate of how long each witness will need.

One of the exhibits to be presented is a series of text messages between Suzanne Morphew and her friend Shelia Oliver, according to Attorney Iris Eytan.

Follow FOX21 reporter Lauren Scharf on Twitter for more updates on the story and live reports next week. She will be in the courtroom on Monday.

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