DENVER — Attorneys representing Barry Morphew intend to sue prosecutors and investigators for what they claim is unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution, and defamation, according to documents obtained by Denver7.
The Denver law firm, Fisher & Byrialsen, P.L.L.C, representing the 53-year-old Chaffee County man in this civil case filed a notice of claim on Oct. 18. Morphew is accused in the murder of his wife, 49-year-old Suzanne Morphew, in Chaffee County on May 9 or 10 of last year. Suzanne’s body has not been found.
Attorneys claim investigators omitted crucial evidence in the case, including DNA evidence from an alleged sex offender, and engaged in “extreme and outrageous conduct.”
They intend to file a lawsuit against 26 individuals associated with the Chaffee Police Department, the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Morphew was arrested on May 5, 2021, and charged with multiple counts, including first-degree murder, attempting to influence a public servant, tampering with evidence and tampering with a deceased human body.
Morphew posted a $500,000 cash bond and was released from jail on Sept. 20.
In the notice of claim filed by Morphew’s attorneys, they allege DNA evidence found in the glovebox of Suzanne’s car matches “the same profile as a single or multiple individuals across the country involved in sexual assault cases,” attorneys wrote in the letter.
Morphew’s attorneys contend after a year of having obtained the DNA evidence, Chafee County Deputy DA Jeff Lindsey followed up on an individual in Phoenix who appears to match the DNA profile found on Suzanne’s glovebox. But the Arizona individual refused to cooperate and retained a lawyer, according to the documents.
The DNA evidence was not brought up during a preliminary hearing and omitted from the affidavit for Morphew’s arrest, according to the legal papers filed by Morphew’s attorneys.
Attorneys provided other examples of alleged mishandling of the case. They claim the affidavit omits other evidence, including an alleged incident involving a tranquilizer dart.
On the afternoon of May 9, investigators allege in the affidavit, as Suzanne was messaging with Jeff Libler, the man with whom she had been having a multi-year affair, Morphew got back to their home and is thought by investigators to have used a tranquilizer dart to incapacitate Suzanne around 2:44 p.m.
Morphew’s attorneys claim when investigators discovered the dart rifle, it was inoperable and had not been used in a long time. They allege this information, and the DNA evidence allegedly found on the glovebox, was purposely omitted from the arrest affidavit.
Prosecutors have yet to respond to the allegations in the notice of claim filed by Fisher & Byrialsen.
Morphew's arrest affidavit was released in late September. The affidavit says Morphew “took steps to control her, incapacitate her, stage a crime scene and create his alibi for her disappearance” in the days leading up to her alleged death on either May 9 or 10.
Chaffee County Judge Patrick Murphy said Morphew's trial is scheduled for May 3-June 1, 2022.