A judge has sanctioned prosecutors in the criminal case against Barry Morphew, the Colorado man accused of murdering his wife, but the court declined to toss the charges as the defense wanted, KUSA-TV reports.
Morphew is facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with the disappearance of his wife, Suzanne Morphew, 49, who went missing on Mother’s Day in 2020 and has yet to be found.
Authorities allege that Barry Morphew killed his wife because she wanted a divorce. Text messages released earlier this year show Suzanne Morphew wrestling with the implications of a divorce and indicate that she was afraid of how her husband would take it.
On Friday, Judge Ramsey Lama sanctioned the prosecution by excluding 14 of 16 expert witnesses for the government, which he wrote was a “significant” and “warranted” penalty.
Lama said prosecutors repeatedly failed to turn over evidence to the defense ahead of the impending trial. Such actions, Lama said, “amount to negligent, and arguably, reckless disregard” of legal rules that govern what information the prosecution and defense must disclose to each other, also known as discovery.
Specifically, the defense had requested sanctions because of prosecutors’ failure to disclose evidence that showed DNA found on items relevant to the investigation partially matched a DNA source that has been linked to sexual assaults in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona, as well as Chicago.
The prosecution was aware of the evidence in May 2021 but did not disclose it to the defense until late July, according to the television station.
Still, Lama decided not to dismiss the entirety of the case against Barry Morphew.
In addition to first-degree murder, Barry Morphew is also facing charges of tampering with a deceased human body, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a dangerous weapon and attempting to influence a public servant.
A trial is scheduled to begin April 28 and is expected to last for about five weeks.
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[Featured image: Suzanne & Barry Morphew/Facebook}