CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. — While Barry Morphew is no longer currently charged in the death of his wife, Suzanne Morphew, he remains charged in a separate case where he's accused of submitting a vote in her name in the November 2020 election.
He faces three counts, two of them are felonies. They include:
- Forgery - government-issued document
- Attempt to influence a public servant
- Elections - mail ballot offense (misdemeanor)
According to 9NEWS legal analyst Whitney Traylor, the most serious charges he faces is a class 4 felony which carries the maximum of six years. The other felony carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. For the misdemeanor charge, he could face a fine of up to $5,000 and no more than 18 months in county jail.
For now, the case remains in Chaffee County Court, even though a change of venue request was granted for the other case involving the murder of Suzanne Morphew.
She was last seen on Mother's Day 2020, and while she has not been found, the sheriff's office said they believe she is no longer alive.
Prosecutors said Tuesday in the motion to dismiss the murder charge against Barry Morphew that they believe they're "close" to discovering Suzanne's remains.
Since the charges were dismissed "without prejudice" new charges could be filed against Barry Morphew in the future if new evidence is found.
In October 2020, the Chaffee County Clerk reported to the sheriff's office that she had received a mail-in ballot for Suzanne Morphew, a person she knew was missing since May 2020, an arrest affidavit from the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) for Barry Morphew's arrest says.
After contacting the sheriff's office the clerk provided Suzanne's ballot to the agency which seized it as evidence.
It did not have the signature of the voter as required and instead, the affidavit says, the name Barry Lee Morphew was handwritten on the witness line. Even when a witness signs, the voter needs to make a mark on the voter signature area.
Normally what happens when there is no signature or a signature discrepancy, the clerk sends out a letter letting the voter know there is an issue with their signature and they have up to eight days after the election to "cure", or fix, the issue. In 2020, it was nine days because the eighth day was Veterans Day.
Suzanne Morphew was sent one of those letters.
"We still completed our statutory requirement by sending out this cure letter, and no one responded," said County Clerk Lori Mitchell at the time.
When no one responds, or responds by saying they never filled out a ballot, the clerk is supposed to turn over the sealed ballot envelopes to the district attorney to investigate. With Suzanne Morphew's ballot, the clerk called the sheriff.
"He sent a deputy over, and I made a chain of custody log, turned the ballot over, he bagged and tagged it, but it was sealed when it left my custody," said Mitchell.
Until a signature is verified, the envelope is never opened and the ballot is not counted.
Barry Morphew was later interviewed by FBI agents about the ballot and asked why he submitted it.
He replied, "Just because I wanted Trump to win," the affidavit says. He further stated, according to the affidavit that "I just thought give him [Trump] another vote."
He went on to say, according to the affidavit, "all these other guys are cheating," and I know she [referring to his wife] was going to vote for Trump anyway."
When asked if knew submitting the ballot was illegal, he responded, "I didn't know you couldn't do that for your spouse," the affidavit says.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: The disappearance of Suzanne Morphew