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Barry Morphew’s hands were covered in cuts after his wife, Suzanne, disappeared last year and investigators discovered a live round next to her bed, according to new testimony during a preliminary hearing Monday.
Multiple investigators took the stand Monday to offer new details in a case that has continued to capture national attention after Suzanne disappeared Mother’s Day weekend of 2020.
Her husband, Barry, has been charged with first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, attempting to influence a public servant, tampering with a deceased human body and possession of a dangerous weapon in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of his wife.
Suzanne's bike was found the same day she was reported missing on May 10, 2020 abandoned in Maysville, Colorado, but there was no sign of the 49-year-old mother of two.
Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Andy Rohrich testified Monday that when Barry arrived at the scene he cried “crocodile tears” or “fake tears,” according to Fox News.
Rohrich also testified that Barry had scratches to his upper left arm that looked like fingernail injuries, three abrasions or cuts that were scabbing over and various cuts on his hands. The injuries were reportedly captured in photos taken just after Suzanne had disappeared from the couple’s Colorado home.
Prosecutors believe she was likely killed on May 9, the day of her last communication, according to KCNC-TV.
Former FBI agent Johnathan Grusing testified that Suzanne sent a final message to a man she had been having an affair with around 2:17 p.m. that day—but never replied to his response or sent the man their usual good night message, according to local media reports.
Barry told investigators that he and Suzanne shared a steak dinner together that night, turned off their phones, went for a hike and had sex.
But Grusing testified that investigators only found one plate and knife that had been recently used, local station KMGH-TV reports. When confronted with the discovery, Barry allegedly told authorities that maybe they had shared the steak.
Investigators believe that Barry killed Suzanne, somehow using a tranquilizer gun in the process after discovering a cap used to cover the injecting needle of a tranquilizer in the dryer at their home, The Denver Post reports.
Grusing testified that authorities also found empty darts, a needle used to inject the tranquilizer into the darts and a dart gun at the property.
Grusing admitted during cross-examination by defense attorney Dru Nielsen that there was no way to determine how long the cap had been inside the dryer.
Barry told investigators that he used the tranquilizers to shoot deer so that he could take their horns, but had not used the gun since April 2020.
“It could have been in the wash, but it’s got nothing to do with me,” Barry allegedly said, according to Grusing’s testimony, KMGH-TV reports. “But see, I hate that because you know that makes me look bad.”
Rohrich testified that inside the home, investigators also found an unspent .22-caliber shell next to Suzanne’s side of the bed, although he didn’t provide any details about how the discovery fit in with investigators’ theory of the case.
They also found her Bible and other books next to the bed, but were unable to find a journal she allegedly kept.
According to Rohrich’s testimony, investigators discovered what appeared to be remnants of a book’s binding in a fireplace at the home, according to the local paper.
Barry allegedly told law enforcement officers that the binding—and some fragments of paper also found in the fireplace—had gotten there because the couple had been cleaning out their filing cabinets.
Rohrich also believed that Barry had behaved strangely when he was allowed back into the home with investigators to get a piece of his wife’s clothing to give to specially trained tracking dogs being used to try to find Suzann
While inside, Rohrich said Barry did not try to look around—even at the bed where he told authorities he had last seen his wife—or ask questions.
“He’s not even trying to call her phone,” he said, according to The Denver Post.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Iris Eytan attacked that characterization by saying that Barry had simply been following the orders he was given.
“He followed the task as directed by law enforcement,” she said.
Barry allegedly insisted to investigators that he didn’t know his wife was having an affair and told them if she had wanted a divorce, he would have written her a check for half of the money and “let her go on her way,” authorities testified.
While talking with investigators, Grusing testified that Barry had asked for immunity, saying “Can you give me immunity if I sit and just open up my life to you?” KMGH-TV reports.
The former FBI agent took the statement to mean that he would agree to help with the disappearance if he had immunity in the case.
Investigators have also testified that after leaving his home early on the morning of May 10, 2020 Barry drove to Broomfield for a job and made five separate stops to throw trash away in various dumpsters.
Testimony in the preliminary hearing is expected to continue on Tuesday.
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