A judge in Colorado this week released nearly 200 pages of exhibits used during a preliminary hearing for Barry Morphew last September. The long-discussed but never-before-shared materials are key to the case against — and for — the defendant accused in Chaffee County of murdering his wife Suzanne Morphew after he found out she was having an affair.
A litany of defense exhibits include pages and pages of GPS coordinates, some of which are pinned over images of the couple’s house. Other GPS data contained in the cache is from Barry Morphew’s truck.
Among the prosecution exhibits are what the state believes is the last photo of Suzanne Morphew alive. It is dated 2:03 p.m. on May 9, 2020. The missing-and-presumed-dead wife and mother was reported missing the next day.
Also among the exhibits are pictures of Suzanne Morphew’s bicycle. Neighbors reported that the missing woman went on a bike ride and subsequently disappeared, but those details were allegedly provided to neighbors by the defendant, according to Colorado Springs FOX affiliate KXRM.
Prosecutors believe Suzanne generally wore sunglasses, a helmet and a Camelbak water bottle when she rode her bike. Her sunglasses, the Camelbak, and her purse were still in her Range Rover; her bike helmet, however, turned up less than a mile from her bike.
Barry Morphew is charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a dangerous weapon (a short rifle), attempting to influence a public servant, forgery of public records, and a ballot offense. The latter charge is connected to Morphew’s alleged decision to submit a ballot in favor of Donald Trump in the name of his missing wife.
Included in the images are three photos of injuries prosecutors say Barry Morphew could have sustained during an attack on his wife.
Morphew said he was hurt while pushing aside tree branches during the search for his wife.
“Investigators believe Morphew shot Suzanne with a tranquilizer dart . . . chased her around the house before he allegedly killed her” and “then hid her body,” according to a KXRM report. “However, the tranquilizer gun investigators found was not working. Morphew claims he uses the tranquilizer darts and gun to sedate deer and remove their antlers.”
The authorities eventually recovered tranquilizer darts in packages from the Morphew property. The cap to one of the darts was inside the couple’s clothes dryer.
Also contained in the cache of materials are photos of a “spy pen” that allegedly captures recordings of Suzanne Morphew speaking with Jeff Libler — described by KXRM as a high school friend and “married father of six with whom she had an affair” for about two years leading up to her disappearance.
The cache of evidence images also includes photos of an unspent shell casing next to a bed — though the available photograph was taken from a distance. Detectives found a crack in the door frame leading from the master bedroom. The sheets were strewn to the side of one of the daughter’s beds.
On May 9, 2020, the day authorities believe Suzanne was murdered, Barry Morphew’s cell phone pinged at multiple locations around his property. He claimed he was shooting chipmunks when FBI agents asked him to explain his movements. Also on the 9th, the would-be defendant replaced a blade on his Bobcat — a small earthmover. He also made what KXRM referred to as “several trash runs” at “multiple locations.”
Barry Morphew checked into a Broomfield hotel on May 10, 2020, the day Suzanne was reported missing, purportedly for a construction job. Among the exhibits are screenshots from surveillance video showing the defendant’s comings and going at that hotel.
And then there are text messages.
“I’m done,” Suzanne Morphew wrote in a deleted text message recovered from Barry Morphew’s phone.
“I could care less what you’re up to and have been for years,” she continued. “We just need to figure this out civilly.”
Other text messages between Suzanne Morphew and a friend accused Barry Morphew of dragging one of the couple’s daughters into troubles with the relationship.
“He’s not stable,” Suzanne apparently wrote in reference to Barry. “It’s guilt and desperate measures he’s taking.”
Suzanne also appears to have written that one of her daughters — Macy — “knows more than she should” about the couple’s troubles.
“My heart is aching for what he did today,” Suzanne continued in the messages to her friend while referencing her daughter. “She and I had a peaceful fun week. He came in and wrecked it and left making her feel bad for him. It’s sick. He looks for any reason to run. It can be small and he blows up and takes off . . . I believe there’s still another” (ellipses in original).
The meaning of “another” is unclear from the context, but Barry Morphew was accused of having an “intimate” relationship with another woman as the investigation unraveled. That woman denied the claims but was arrested for allegedly trespassing on the Morphew family’s former property; the charges were eventually dropped.
Suzanne also texted her friend that she couldn’t “win” with her then-husband and claimed in the messages that he was good at “manipulation.” But elsewhere she admitted she was coming across as “one-sided” and that she done her own “share of damage” to the marriage. At one point, Suzanne told her friend she threatened to seek a restraining order against Barry.
On April 2, 2020, Suzanne looked back at herself in other text messages to her friend.
“Makes me wonder what the young me was thinking,” she waxed in a moment of self-reflection. “I was a broken girl just looking for stability and no confidence in who I was.”
She would be gone a little more than a month later.
Barry Morphew’s trial is scheduled for May. Suzanne Morphew is presumed dead, but her body has never been found.
One bizarre wrinkle in the case is the discovery of unknown male DNA in the glovebox of Suzanne’s car. That unknown DNA corresponds to partial DNA profiles from numerous unsolved sexual assault cases from three jurisdictions in two different states. The glovebox sample matched sex crimes in Chicago, Ill., as well as in Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz., investigators revealed during pretrial hearings.
The voluminous exhibit files are embedded below.
[all images, except for the featured photo, via Chaffee County, Colo. court records]
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