The judge overseeing the upcoming murder trial of a Colorado man who allegedly killed his wife sometime in 2020 granted the defendant a bond modification so he can spend some time with his family.
“We are a family, and we need each other,” Mallory Morphew told Chaffee County Court Ramsey Lama on Tuesday. “It would be a blessing for us to be a family and be together in the town over.”
Barry Morphew, 53, was arrested in May 2021 on charges of murder in the first degree, tampering with evidence, and attempting to influence a public servant. His wife and alleged victim, 49-year-old Suzanne Morphew, was last seen alive on Mother’s Day in 2020. A missing persons report was filed by a neighbor who said the mother of two vanished during a bike ride from which she never returned.
Seven days later, the eventual defendant appeared in a teary-eyed video pleading for this wife’s safe return. That footage spread far and wide before the visually-grieving husband was arrested.
Mallory Morphew and her sister Macy Morphew live in the small census-designated place of Gunnison, Colo., roughly three hours due west of Colorado Springs and over four hours southwest of Denver.
According to Colorado Springs FOX affiliate KXRM journalists Kate Singh and Lauren Scharf, Tuesday’s hearing marked the first time either Morphew sister had addressed the court since their father was charged with their mother’s murder.
Mallory Morphew reportedly spoke through tears.
“It would be really such a blessing for our dad to be able to be with us,” she told the judge. “Because of our work schedule and driving over the pass in the winter. It would be really amazing for us. It has been a hard and confusing time and we’ve been struggling . . . grief and sadness.”
Mountain passes in the Centennial State can oftentimes become particularly treacherous and dangerous in winter months as snow accumulates and the potential for avalanches increases.
Lama appeared sympathetic to at least some of those concerns in agreeing to the contested bond modification — with some limits.
Barry Morphew had previously been confined to Chaffee County. Gunnison is the county seat of the neighboring county bearing the same name. While now able to go between Chaffee and Gunnison counties, the defendant will only be allowed to travel during daylight hours while being tracked by a GPS device. A judge in his case allowed him to post a $500,000 cash only bond in September 2021, holding during a probable cause hearing that there was enough evidence to charge him with murder but not enough to detain him pending trial.
“Thank you!” the defendant shouted when the judge made a decision granting the relatively minor bond modification.
Suzanne Morphew’s body has never been found; Barry Morphew has consistently maintained his innocence.
Other members of Suzanne Morphew’s family opposed the bond modification in a letter submitted with the court. Those concerns, however, ultimately did not hold the day with the judge.
In a recent interview with 48 Hours, Melinda Moorman, the presumed-deceased woman’s sister, said she received a text from Suzanna Morphew two days before her disappearance that accused Barry Morphew of recently being “abusive emotionally and physically.”
Bond wasn’t the only victory for the defense during the hearing.
Judge Lama also ruled that the 11th Judicial District Attorneys Office has serially violated the court’s pre-trial publicity order. Sanctions may or may not be forthcoming for prosecutors in the high-profile case.
[image via Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office]
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