CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — Barry Morphew, the Chaffee County man accused in the May 2020 disappearance and murder of his wife, Suzanne, will face a new judge moving forward.
Morphew’s defense team moved to disqualify Chaffee County Judge Patrick Murphy in December after learning Murphy has long known a partner in the firm representing Shoshona Darke. Darke is allegedly in a romantic relationship with Morphew, a fact which was featured in the arrest affidavit and may also be used as in argument by the prosecution. Murphy stepped down from the case on Thursday.
Moving forward, the district administrator will contact the chief justice in order to determine a replacement judge.
Morphew was arrested in May of 2021, just about one year after his wife’s disappearance was reported.
At a press conference that month, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said, although no body has been recovered, his “belief is that Suzanne is not alive.”
Morphew faces the following seven charges:
- Murder in the first degree
- Tampering with a deceased human body
- Tampering with physical evidence
- Possession of a dangerous weapon – short rifle
- Attempt to influence a public servant
- Forgery of Public Records
- Misdemeanor Elections-mail ballot offense
Morphew has maintained his innocence in the months following Suzanne’s disappearance.
He was able to bond out of jail in September, after Judge Murphy decided the prosecution had not met the burden of proof in order to keep him in custody.