SALIDA, Colorado (AP) – Investigators on Monday revealed insights into a troubled marriage between a Colorado woman who disappeared on Mother’s Day 2020 and her husband, who was charged with her death after asking for her safe return on social media had.
Before being reported missing by a neighbor after failing to return from a bike ride, Suzanne Morphew used a “spy pen,” a device that looks like a pen that can automatically record conversations when noises are detected by her husband Barry Morphew feared he was having an affair, said Chaffee County Sheriff’s commandant Alex Walker. The testimony came at the start of a hearing in the Salida mountain community to determine whether Barry Morphew, 53, will be tried on his wife’s death.
Investigators found no evidence that Barry Morphew was having an affair, but the pen’s records showed that Suzanne Morphew was one, Walker said. The man she had an affair with for two years did not contact authorities after Suzanne Morphew went missing, but instead spoke to investigators when they identified who he was, Walker said.
In another recording, taped and hard to hear, the Morphews appeared to be arguing about money, FBI agent Kenneth Harris testified.
Prosecutors also produced text messages between Suzanne Morphew and a friend from 2019-2020 complaining that her husband was starting arguments and putting her children in the middle.
“He’s not stable,” wrote Suzanne Morphew in a message shown in court. “It’s guilt and desperate measures he takes … I can’t win with him. He’s too good at manipulation. I feel stuck. “
Barry Morphew sat in court before his two daughters, occasionally whispering to his lawyers or pointing to papers in front of him. When his lawyer Dru Nielsen spoke about describing Suzanne Morphew as his “angel” and a “special, wonderful person”, Morphew, who was wearing a gray striped suit and blue medical mask, seemed emotional and dabbed his eyes with it off a handkerchief.
During a pause, Morphew turned to his two daughters and appeared to be smiling behind his mask, hands in pockets. They took off their masks so he could see their smiles. One of them showed him how long her hair had grown.
The courtroom had limited occupancy due to coronavirus concerns. Everyone had to wear masks, and people in the gallery were asked to keep a distance of 1 meter. Members of the public who wanted a seat in front of the courthouse stood long before the door opened at 8 a.m. Some wore t-shirts in support of Suzanne Morphew and shook their heads when defense attorneys questioned witnesses.
Lawyers and prosecutors used a projector to display videos and photos during the hearing. Body camera footage revealed that investigators found Suzanne Morphew’s bike in a short but steep gorge off a county road. In the video, officers walk around the bike through rough terrain, shouting her name, and finding that the bike had no apparent damage.
The evidence gathered in the case was kept secret before the hearing, with a 130-page court document sealing the reasons for Barry Morphew’s arrest despite opposition from a coalition of news media, including The Associated Press.
In addition to being charged with his wife on Jan.
Morphew is charged with tampering with his wife’s body around the time of her murder and evidence in the case from last May to early March, about two months before his arrest. He is also charged with illegally possessing a short rifle and deceiving police officers from the disappearance of his wife to his arrest.
The hearing should continue on Tuesday and resume later this month.
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