Prosecutors in the case of the Colorado man accused of killing his wife before publicly pleading for her safe return may call more than 500 witnesses, according to documents released Monday.
The Chaffee County court made available nearly 500 pages of previously-unreleased documents in the case of Barry Morphew, who is accused of murdering his wife Suzanne Morphew in May 2020.
Suzanne disappeared on Mother’s Day, and Barry publicly pleaded for her safe return. Although Barry initially told investigators that he and Suzanne had a happy marriage, investigators learned otherwise: Suzanne was apparently seeking a divorce and had sought help from friends in documenting Barry’s alleged domestic abuse.
Included in the documents are protective orders against Barry from at least 10 of his wife’s friends and family, according to the Denver Gazette, which first reported the release of the documents.
The documents also include an August motion for sanctions filed by the defense. It accuses the prosecution of burying what the defense called an “exculpatory letter” in a late-July document dump of thousands of pages of discovery. The letter, dated May 19, 2021, states that DNA taken from Suzanne’s car matches the DNA profile of other unsolved sexual assaults that occurred in Arizona and Chicago.
“It is outrageous that this undeniably exculpatory letter was not produced until July 23, 2021,” the motion for sanctions says. “Even more egregious is that law enforcement has had this exculpatory information since October 2020. The prosecution withheld this information from Mr. Morphew and from the Court when they submitted the lengthy [arrest affidavit for Morphew].”
A late-October filing by the prosecution lists hundreds of witnesses. Among them are numerous friends and family members, including Morphew’s two adult daughters. Jeffery Puckett, a contractor, is also on the list; he said the room Morphew had reserved for him the weekend Suzanne disappeared reeked of chlorine. Shoshana Darke, a woman suspected of having a relationship with Morphew, is also on the list. Darke was recently arrested for allegedly trespassing on property that previously belonged to Morphew and walking away with what appeared to be a cardboard box.
Jeff Libler, Suzanne’s lover, is also on the list. Barry had initially denied knowing about Suzanne’s affair with Libler; prosecutors accused him of destroying text evidence that showed otherwise.
Lauren Scharf, a reporter for Colorado Springs Fox affiliate KXRM who has been following the case, is also on the witness list. The list of possible witnesses does not explain what testimony she might add to the matter.
Some of the most recent filings included arguments about the defense’s request to subpoena Jeffrey Lindsey, a deputy district attorney who was the lead prosecutor in the case. Lindsey resigned in October. The prosecution objected to the subpoena by asserting attorney-client, attorney work product, and executive privileges; the state also argued that the subpoena was unnecessary and vague.
Morphew’s attorney said that he intends to call Lindsey to testify in connection with the sanctions motion against Lindsey and other prosecutors “for misrepresentations made in court, discovery violations, and prosecutorial misconduct.” The defense added that the various privileges asserted by the prosecution do not apply to the subpoena.
In addition to the murder charges, Morphew is accused of evidence tampering, attempting to influence a public servant, and possible voter fraud. The latter charge is because Morphew allegedly tried to cast a vote in 2020 for Donald Trump in his wife’s name.
You can read the released documents below.
[Images via Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office]
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