The missing wife of a Chaffee County man had a two-year extramarital affair before she disappeared in May 2020, a sheriff’s investigator testified Monday.
The preliminary hearing for 53-year-old Barry Morphew began Monday. He is accused of killing his wife, Suzanne Morphew, 49, who disappeared from the family’s home near Maysville in May 2020. She was reported missing by a neighbor after she failed to return from a Mother’s Day bike ride, prompting an extensive, yearlong search before authorities charged against her husband in May 2021. Her body has not been found.
Chaffee County Sheriff’s Commander Alex Walker testified during cross-examination that Suzanne Morphew had had a two-year extramarital affair.
The evidence against Barry Morphew has been kept secret since he was arrested. Investigators filed a 130-page affidavit detailing the case, but it was sealed by 11th Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Murphy, who in June denied a request from The Denver Post and a group of media outlets to make the document public, citing concerns about Morphew’s right to a fair trial.
“The Affidavit is, by far, the lengthiest and most detailed affidavit the Court has ever seen in almost 30 years of experience with criminal cases,” Murphy wrote in the ruling. “A significant portion of the information in the Affidavit was not relevant to the Court’s finding of probable cause and possibly not admissible at trial under the Colorado Rules of Evidence.”
He decided the affidavit would be released seven days after Morphew’s four-day preliminary hearing, which is set for Monday, Tuesday, Aug. 23 and 24. During the hearing, prosecutors will present evidence against Morphew, and Murphy will decide whether to deny him bail.
In addition to first-degree murder, Morphew is accused of destroying, mutilating, concealing, removing or altering his wife’s body in an attempt to avoid arrest, as well as possessing an illegal short rifle and attempting to influence public servants.
In the 2020 presidential election, Morphew filled out his wife’s mail-in ballot, voting for Donald Trump. He is charged with forgery in that case, which is separate from the murder case.
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