CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — Tuesday, Aug. 24, marked the final day of Barry Morphew’s four-day preliminary hearing. Morphew is accused of killing his wife, Suzanne, on Mother’s Day weekend in 2020 in Chaffee County.
At a preliminary hearing, the judge is tasked with finding a probable cause for the existing charges before moving forward with an arraignment and trial. Chaffee County Judge Patrick Murphy couldn’t decide if there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial. A new hearing date to make that decision has been set for Sept. 17 at 1:30 p.m.
While speaking at a press conference in May 2021, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said that although no body has been recovered, his “belief is that Suzanne is not alive at this time.”
During the trial on Tuesday, Morphew’s attorney told the judge she did not believe the state had met the burden of proof in its arguments during the preliminary trial. She asked the judge to allow Morphew be let out of jail. The judge said that he could not make a decision on that request Tuesday.
Six witnesses were called by the state including Commander Alex Walker with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and a former investigator for the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, FBI Agent Kenneth Harris, former FBI Agent Johnny Grusing, CBI Agent Derek Graham, Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Andy Rohrich, CBI Agent Kevin Koback.
Morphew’s defense team called CBI Agent Joseph Cahill and Chaffee County Deputy Scott Himschoot to the stand.
Himschoot discovered the cap of the tranquilizer needle in the Morphew’s dryer. Investigators believe Morphew used the tranquilizer dart in the murder of Suzanne. In court, the defense showed the body camera footage of Himschoot when he swabbed for DNA and found the key piece of evidence.
The defense accused investigators of fabricating this evidence. Morphew’s attorney asked Himschoot if he physically placed the cap in the dryer after hearing a clinking noise in the dryer. He said no and testified that he had picked it up and then put it back. Himschoot also testified the tranquilizer gun hadn’t been fired recently.
In an interview with FBI Agent Johnny Grusing, Morphew said, “I don’t care about the evidence… If it has anything to do with me, tying me into the evidence, then it is wrong.”
In court, it was revealed that Morphew told his daughters about Suzanne’s affair and allegedly said Suzanne was a good mother and told them that her sin was no worse than any sins. This is when the daughters became very emotional in the courtroom and wiped away tears.
The defense asked CBI Agent Cahill about the discovery of “an unknown man’s DNA” on Suzanne Morphew’s bike handlebars. When Suzanne was first reported missing, it was thought she had left her home to ride her bike. The bicycle was recovered a short time later.
Cahill confirmed that Barry Morphew had been excluded from the DNA on Suzanne’s bike grips, a cushion in her car, and on her glove box. There were some issues, however, as Cahill noted he never saw the final version of the arrest affidavit and, in fact, only reviewed the first 19 pages. The entire affidavit is 130 pages long. Judge Murphy signed off on the arrest affidavit.
To catch up on all the details revealed in court, review FOX21’s previous stories:
- Preliminary Hearing Day 3: ‘Did you ever find the journal? No’; Evidence discovered inside Suzanne Morphew’s home released
- Preliminary Hearing Day 2: “I’m done,” Texts between Suzanne and Barry Morphew reveal troubled marriage
- Preliminary Hearing Day 1: ‘Cannot live my life without you in it,’ messages reveal Suzanne Morphew had an affair before her disappearance
Morphew was arrested without incident on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, and since then has maintained his innocence.
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 is being held in the Chaffee County Jail without bond. His arrest papers have been sealed.