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Investigators in Morphew case all thought there was probable cause, but disagreed on timing of arrest

A judge will rule in the coming days whether to grant a motion by the defense to dismiss the case

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. — Law enforcement officers from local and state agencies investigating Suzanne Morphew’s disappearance testified in court Friday that they all agreed there was probable cause in the case, but disagreed on the timing for when Barry Morphew should have been arrested.

Agents with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raised concerns in April and May of 2021 that it was too early to make an arrest in the case. The former lead investigator in the case for the CBI, Joseph Cahill, testified that arresting Morphew in May of 2021 was “premature” and the “worst decision that could be made.”

RELATED: Investigator said Morphew’s arrest was ‘worst decision that could be made,’ according to defense motion

Cahill and his partner on the case, Agent Derek Graham elevated their concerns to their superiors at CBI. Their conversations led CBI Director John Camper and Deputy Director Chris Schaefer to call Sheriff Spezze in the days before the arrest warrant was issued and ask him to hold off on arresting Morphew. CBI Agents said there was still more investigative work to be done, test results they were waiting on, that they were hoping to interview more people, as well as other reasons they wanted to wait.

“I understood that they were about to make an arrest… so I call him and told him that Barry Morphew was still speaking to our investigators and I didn’t want that to come to a close,” Camper said in court. “He disagreed… one of the main concerns he expressed was that Mr. Morphew would flee. I wasn’t as concerned about that.”

Still, 11th Judicial District Attorney Linda Stanley and Chafee County Sheriff John Spezze moved forward with arresting Morphew and charging him with murder, despite the concerns expressed by members of CBI.

RELATED: Defense attorneys file motion to dismiss Barry Morphew's murder case

“There was no rush,” Sheriff Spezze testified in court.

Spezze said that while he didn’t have any specific concerns about Morphew fleeing and running away from authorities, he said that is always a concern. Morphew was arrested nearly a year to-the-date after his wife went missing.

RELATED: Barry Morphew out on bail, arrest affidavit released in murder case

District Attorney Linda Stanley was subpoenaed by the defense to testify Friday in the case which she brought the charges. Stanley has not been in court on a regular basis for several months, though it’s unknown why.

The defenses’ motion to dismiss the case centers around their claim that prosecutors withheld “exculpatory evidence” that would have brought into question whether probably cause would have been granted after the preliminary hearing.

Judge Ramsey Lama said he would take the motion under advisement and rule on the motion “in due time.”

Suzanne Morphew has been missing since she disappeared in May of 2020. Though her husband Barry is charged with her murder, her body has never been found.

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