A Colorado judge on Thursday kept sealed documents that might shed light on how police came to arrest 53-year-old Barry Morphew for the disappearance and death of his wife on Mother’s Day weekend last year.
Suzanne Morphew has not been seen since May 10, 2020, when she reportedly went out on a bike ride and didn’t return, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Just days before the anniversary of her disappearance, Chaffee County deputies arrested her husband, charging him with first degree murder, tampering with evidence and attempting to influence a public servant.
He’s since been charged with tampering with a deceased human body and possession of a dangerous weapon related to his wife’s disappearance.
Judge Patrick Murphy did not allow Thursday’s hearing to be recorded, but reporters watched the proceedings online. Morphew, his attorneys, and prosecutors were in the court room.
Murphy granted a defense request to keep sealed warrants filed in the case, which means details about how police came to arrest Morphew remain hidden for the time being, Fox News reported. Prosecutors did not object to that motion.
Murphy didn’t rule on a motion to unseal Morphew’s arrest affidavit. He’d given attorneys until Thursday to present arguments on the matter and said he would review those documents and decide whether a hearing will be necessary before he makes a ruling.
Judge told #BarryMorphew the next time he would see him is Monday, August 9th at 8 a.m. He nodded in response.
— Lauren Scharf (@LaurenScharfTV) May 27, 2021
Court documents filed on the two most recent charges — weapon possession and tampering with a body — reveal little about the case as well. The documents allege that Morphew had a short rifle in his possession “between and including May 9, 2020, and March 4, 2021.”
The documents also say he “destroyed, mutilated, concealed, removed, or altered a human body, part of a human body, or human remains with intent to impair its or their appearance or availability.” The papers say he did so between May 9, 2020, and May 20, 2020 — the same dates he is alleged to have killed Suzanne Morphew — “believing that an official proceeding was pending, in progress, or about to be instituted, and acting without legal right or authority.”
Also on Thursday , defense attorney Iris Eytan asked Judge Patrick Murphy to order prosecutors to turn over all their evidence immediately, but Murphy made the order for end of business day on June 2, the day prosecutors said they’d be ready to comply.
The judge didn’t rule on Eytan’s request for the preservation of police emails and text messages relating to the case after prosecutors argued that the preservation of thousands of messages would be burdensome.
In addition to the charges related to his wife’s disappearance, Morphew has also been hit with felony forging public documents and a misdemeanor mail-in ballot offense for allegedly submitting a ballot for the 2020 presidential election in his missing wife’s name. As CrimeOnline reported, Morphew told investigators he didn’t know a husband couldn’t cast a ballot for his missing wife, and “I wanted Trump to win.”
Murphy ordered Morphew back in court on August 9 for the beginning of a preliminary hearing.
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[Featured image: Suzanne Morphew/handout and Barry Morphew/Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office]