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DNA found on Suzanne Morphew’s glovebox was linked to partial profiles in three unsolved sexual assault cases, according to testimony on the final day of Barry Morphew’s preliminary hearing.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Joseph Cahill testified Tuesday that the male DNA was discovered on the glove box of Suzanne’s vehicle after she disappeared in May of 2020, according to local station KUSA.
The sample was matched to three partial DNA profiles in sexual assault cases in Arizona and Chicago and did not match Suzanne’s husband Barry, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the case.
Cahill said that he had not followed up on the matches. He asked a detective in Chicago to follow-up in one instance, but never checked back in with him to confirm that he had, he said.
During cross-examination, Cahill explained that a forensic scientist had described the DNA as “limited genetic data,” The Denver Post reports.
Barry’s defense attorneys used the new testimony as part of their argument to Eleventh Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Murphy that after a four-day preliminary hearing, prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to proceed with a trial against their client.
Murphy plans to render his decision after hearing testimony from multiple investigators involved with the investigation at a hearing on Sept. 17, KDVR reports.
Barry’s defense team also called Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scott Himshoot to the stand, who testified that a tranquilizer gun—that had been focused on by prosecutors during much of the hearing—did not appear to have been fired in a long time.
They also played body camera footage that showed deputies who arrived at the couple’s Colorado home questioning whether the tranquilizer gun, which was found in a gun safe, even worked, the paper reports.
Over days of testimony, prosecutors laid out the theory that Barry had killed his wife Suzanne on May 9, 2020, before heading to a work job in Broomfield the next morning, where he stopped at five different locations to throw items away in trash receptacles.
Just four days before she disappeared, Suzanne—who had been carrying on an affair for two years with Michigan man Jeff Libler—had texted Barry that she was “done,” KUSA reports.
Suzanne’s final communication was sent to Libler in the afternoon of May 9 as she was sunbathing at her Colorado home, but she never responded to his reply.
Investigators suspect Barry may have used a tranquilizer on his wife after discovering a sheath used to cover the tranquilizer’s needle in the dryer of the couple’s home shortly after she disappeared.
Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Andy Rohrich testified that Barry also had scratches on his upper left arm that looked like fingernail injuries, three abrasions or cuts that were scabbing over and various cuts on his hands, according to Fox News.
Barry told investigators that he and Suzanne had a steak dinner together on May 9, before they turned off their phones, went for a hike and made love, yet former FBI agent Johnathan Grusing testified that investigators only discovered one plate and knife, KMGH-TV reports.
Barry had also placed his phone in airplane mode two separate times on May 9 and May 10, according to authorities, which investigators found suspicious.
Barry’s defense team focused on the unknown DNA found on her glove box and an “unknown man’s DNA” found on the handle bars of her bike, which was discovered abandoned the same day she was reported missing.
They also focused on Barry’s reaction after investigators told him that Suzanne had been having a lengthy affair, saying he told the couple’s daughters that it had only been one sin and she had still been a good mother, KDVR reports.
Both of his daughters were in the courtroom for the hearing.
His defense attorneys also told the judge that he had searched 200 square miles after his wife’s disappearance in the hopes of finding her.
Although Barry’s attorney Dru Nielsen had asked the judge to release her client on bail pending the decision whether to proceed with the case, Murphy said he’d rather “make the decision correctly than expeditiously,” according to the paper. Barry remains behind bars without bond.
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