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Morphew attorneys file motion to dismiss case after investigator calls arrest ‘premature’

Posted at 2:11 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2024-02-05 19:31:34-05

DENVER — Barry Morphew’s defense team has filed a motion to dismiss the first-degree murder case against their client based on recently released discovery that included remarks of an investigator who called the arrest "premature."

Morphew’s defense team filed the motion in Fremont County court on Feb. 9, according to documents released Tuesday. Prosecutors filed a response to the defense’s motion on Feb. 23, calling the defense’s motion “utter nonsense.”

Attorneys representing Morphew, 54, who is accused of murdering his wife Suzanne Morphew, claim remarks made by Colorado Bureau of Investigations agent Joseph Cahill during a Dec. 2, 2021, internal affairs interview are grounds to dismiss the case.

Agent Cahill, who is now assigned to the bureau’s marijuana enforcement division, worked on the Morphew investigation shortly after Suzanne Morphew was reported missing from her Chaffee County home on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10, 2020.

In the defense’s motion, attorneys claim that Cahill said Morphew’s arrest on May 5, 2021, was premature and the “worst” decision that could be made. Attorneys claim CBI agents brought these concerns to Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze but were dismissed by the sheriff and was told that he “did not need CBI’s advice,” the documents said.

Defense attorneys argue that this conversation was not brought up during subsequent court hearings and that they only learned of Cahill’s interview in January and saw the taped conversation in February. They are asking the judge to dismiss the case because of “prosecutorial discovery violations.”

Prosecutors filed a response to the defense’s motion, saying the “People have produced tens of thousands of pages of discovery and hours of video and audio recordings.” They called the motion “utter nonsense” and said agent Cahill had been “thoroughly discredited,” and was simply offering his opinion.

“Of course these attorneys have also have advocated preposterous notion to this Court that the 11th Judicial District DA’s Office, the FBI, CBI and Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office are in some grand conspiracy to suppress discovery that we have already timely provided,” prosecutors wrote in the motion.

Morphew is facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder. He also faces charges of tampering with physical evidence, attempting to influence a public servant, tampering with a deceased human body, and possession of a dangerous weapon.

Morphew pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a $500,000 cash bond on Sept. 20, 2021. His trial is being moved to Fremont County after the court decided he could not receive a fair trial in Chaffee County, according to a court order obtained by Denver7.

Barry Morphew's jury trial will begin on May 3, 2022, in the Fremont County Courthouse.

Denver7 covered each day of Barry Morphew's preliminary hearing in August. To learn about the court discussions in depth, click to read day one here, day two here, day three here, and day four here. His 130-page arrest affidavit, which details the allegations into why Barry Morphew was arrested in connection with the murder of his wife, was released in September 2021.