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Barry Morphew Murder Charges Dismissed Before High-Profile Trial Started

The judge in the case accepted a motion filed by prosecutors to dismiss the charges against Barry Morphew, who stood accused of murdering his missing wife, Suzanne Morphew, without prejudice. 

By Jax Miller
Morphew Daughters Stand By Dad Following Dismissal Of Charges

A Colorado judge has dismissed the murder charges against Barry Morphew just days before the high-profile trial was set to begin.

Morphew had been charged with killing his wife, Suzanne Morphew, 49, who vanished after going for a bicycle ride on Mother’s Day of 2020, as previously reported. On Tuesday, the prosecution moved to dismiss the first-degree murder and related charges without prejudice — meaning the state could refile charges at a later time — according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com.

District Court Judge Ramsey Lama approved the prosecution's motion just hours after it was filed with the 11th Judicial Court, according to Denver CBS 4.

With the murder trial slated to begin on April 28, prosecutors had hoped that finding Suzanne Morphew’s body would strengthen their case, according to the recent motion.

That day hasn’t come.

Suzanne Barry Morphew Pd

“As an offer of proof, the People and law enforcement believe we are close to discovering the victim’s body,” prosecutors stated. “The People were hopeful that the search for, and the discovery of, the victim’s body would be concluded well before trial, but weather has complicated efforts.”

Prosecutors said investigators remained focused on “a remote and mountainous region nearby the Morphew residence.” Still, searches have been virtually impossible with the current environmental conditions — including five feet of snow on the ground.

“In typical homicide cases, the fact of the victim’s death is rarely at issue,” the motion continued. “But in a case such as this, the most influential fact of consequence is whether or not Ms. Morphew is deceased.”

The decision comes weeks after Morphew’s defense sought to have the case thrown out entirely, claiming there was no evidence to prove that Suzanne Morphew — whose body has never been found— was murdered at all. In his ruling against those efforts, Judge Lama criticized prosecutors, taking note of a “continuing pattern” with prosecutors falling short of sharing all discovery materials with the defense.

Lama also used his ruling to address a thorn in the prosecution’s side: The discovery of male DNA found on the victim’s glove box that didn’t belong to the defendant, as previously reported. The unknown male’s DNA had reportedly been partially linked to three out-of-state rape cases that have yet to be solved.

Lama said the DNA evidence was not provided to the court in a timely fashion.

Still, Lama had refused the defense’s bid to end the case and instead allowed the trial to move forward until the prosecution’s recent decision to have the charges dismissed.

In Tuesday’s motion, the prosecution admitted that their case largely revolved around the defendant’s motive, opportunity and “consistent dishonesty with law enforcement,” but claimed a court’s previous decision to limit expert testimony damaged their case.

They were referring to a judge's decision in March to block 12 of the 14 potential state witnesses from testifying in the trial, according to Colorado Springs’ KRDO. One of the witnesses was a K-9 handler tasked with trying to help find Suzanne Morphew on the evening of her disappearance.

“Without this crucial evidence, and without the victim’s body, the People cannot move forward at this time in good faith,” according to Tuesday’s filing.

The prosecution also noted how dismissing charges would protect the defendant, citing a potentially unfavorable verdict by the jury.

As reported, Judge Lama previously ruled in favor of a change of venue after the defense argued Barry Morphew could not have a fair trial by an impartial jury in light of the massive media attention on the case. The trial was subsequently moved from Chaffee County to neighboring Fremont County.

The charges against Barry Morphew had relied on non-scientific and arguably circumstantial evidence, including on the couple’s flawed marriage, as revealed during the preliminary hearing. Such evidence included argumentative texts between the pair, surveillance footage showing the defendant making several garbage runs on the day of his wife’s disappearance and scratches found on the defendant’s body.

According to the recent filing, the state discussed its motion for dismissal with Suzanne Morphew’s sister and two brothers. They relayed that they hoped investigators could resolutely find their sister’s body before moving forward with further prosecution.

“I’m OK with what happened today,” Suzanne’s brother, Andrew Moorman, told CBS 4. “I’m all about finding Suzanne. I just want closure for my family.”

However, the prosecution didn’t consult with the Morphews’ daughters, who were the ones who sounded the alarm when they couldn’t get ahold of their mother on Mother’s Day 2020, but have supported their father's declarations of innocence since his May 2021 arrest.

“For obvious reasons, the People have not endeavored to speak with Macy or Mallory Morphew,” the motion stated. “But would be happy to hear their position in court.”