SALIDA, Colo. — Barry Morphew walked out of the Chaffee County jail on Monday afternoon after posting a $500,000 cash-only bail in the murder case of his wife, Suzanne.
Also on Monday, the arrest affidavit against Morphew was unsealed on the order of Chaffee County Judge Patrick Murphy. The 129-page affidavit, which lays out the prosecution's case, can be read here.
Suzanne Morphew, 49, of Maysville, was last seen May 10, 2020. Despite an exhaustive search, her body has not been found.
On Friday, Murphy found probable cause for Barry Morphew to stand trial on the following charges:
- First-degree murder
- Tampering with a deceased human body
- Tampering with physical evidence
- Possession of a dangerous weapon
- Attempt to influence a public servant
Morphew pleaded not guilty, and trial dates were set for May 3 through June 1, 2022.
About 12:30 p.m. Monday, Morphew walked out of the Chaffee County jail and got into the back of pickup truck that quickly pulled out of the parking lot and left.
The judge ordered Morphew to not travel outside Chaffee County without the court's permission, to surrender his passport and to wear an ankle monitor.
> Video: Barry Morphew leaves Chaffee County jail
The arrest affidavit includes crime scene reports, descriptions of texts and conversations from the couples' phones, and interviews with Morphew and others, including Jeff Libler, who was having an affair with Suzanne; friends and family members of both of the Morphews, and employees of Barry Morphew.
Much of what was in the affidavit also came up in testimony over four days of a preliminary hearing in August.
"Suzanne took clear, articulable steps in January 2020 in attempts to separate from and divorce her husband, Barry," according to the affidavit. "She told her family and close friends about her intentions, secretly recorded her notes of abuse in her phone because Barry monitored it, confronted Barry in arguments that she secretly recorded with help from a friend and, finally, sent him a text four days before she disappeared saying that she was 'done, let's handle this civilly.'"
It goes on to say that Barry Morphew said their marriage was "perfect" and his wife had no intention of leaving him.
Investigators allege Barry “knowingly destroyed evidence that his relationship with Suzanne was deteriorating and that he was involved in her disappearance and homicide.”
The affidavit says the investigation indicates that Suzanne was not the victim of "an accident, an animal attack, Suzanne being a runaway, Suzanne committing suicide, or Suzanne being the victim of a stranger abduction."
According to interviews over several months described in the affidavit, Barry Morphew suggested many theories for his wife's disappearance: a mountain lion attack, an abduction and rape, a man who sold hemp oil to Suzanne, and Suzanne's own family members.
The affidavit, laying out the Chaffee County District Attorney Office's case, suggests that "when Barry could not control Suzanne's insistence on leaving him," he shot her with a tranquilizer dart on the afternoon of May 9, 2020, and prevented her from leaving the house until the chemicals took effect, then killed her and disposed of her body.
> Video: Former DA weighs in on circumstantial evidence in Morphew case
According to the affidavit, Suzanne Morphew had a two-year affair with Jeff Libler, a Michigan man who was told he wasn't a target of the investigation. It took investigators months to track down Libler, who said he didn't come forward because he was afraid of losing his family and his job, the affidavit says.
The affidavit goes into more detail on what prosecutors have called a "list of grievances" that Suzanne Morphew kept on her phone. The list of 60 items included: physical abuse, mental abuse, stalking her in the house, taking her phone and chasing her around a resort.
Suzanne suspected that her husband was having an affair, but investigators haven't found evidence of that.
Not long after Suzanne Morphew went missing, her mountain bike was found along County Road 225, at the bottom of a hill, and her helmet was found at another location. Neither the bike nor the helmet were damaged, and there was no evidence of a struggle, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also included screenshots from surveillance video from a Holiday Inn in Broomfield, where Barry Morphew checked in the day after his wife was last seen alive. Morphew told investigators he went to Broomfield on a business trip.
The screenshots show Morphew taking bags and items from his truck, and then walking them toward dumpsters, and another of him entering the hotel lobby with two shovels that he placed beside the front desk.
According to the affidavit, a friend of Morphew told investigators that three or four days after Suzanne's disappearance, Morphew complained that law enforcement was focusing solely on him. The friend consulted a defense lawyer, who said, "Barry needed to take the polygraph test so law enforcement could focus somewhere else."
When the friend passed on that advice, Morphew said, "I don't think I'd pass a polygraph," according to the affidavit.
When investigators first told Barry they’d discovered his wife was having an affair, he responded by looking to God.
“Well, now that you told me that she was having an affair – maybe, I don’t know, maybe in God’s eyes this was his way of resolving something," the affidavit says.
“I’m not saying he did it to punish Suzanne because of her affair,” he told investigators. “But it makes more sense than what I knew before you guys came today.”
Morphew is next scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 9 for a motions hearing.
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