Prosecutors in Barry Morphew’s murder case asked a judge last month to set stricter terms for his pre-trial release from jail because an ankle monitor he is ordered to wear doesn't work in steep terrain west of Monarch Pass where he's been living.
Charged with killing his wife Suzanne, who disappeared on Mother's Day in 2020, Morphew was released from the Chaffee County jail Sept. 20 on $500,000 bail and ordered to wear the monitor. Attached to his ankle, the device uses Global Positioning System satellites to determine Morphew's whereabouts and cellular telephone signals to send that location to authorities.
But the monitoring system doesn't work in areas where cellular service is spotty, leaving cops in the dark on the location of Morphew, who authorities say has been living in an area with no cellular service since his release. Prosecutors want a judge to order Morphew to move to a place where the monitoring system works.
Court documents refer to Morphew's current domicile as “the Cushman Residence.” On Sept. 21, the operators of the ankle monitor system, Intervention Inc., told authorities that it could not track him if he continued to live there.
Because the Cushman residence is only a few hundred yards away from where Morphew, 53, lived with his missing wife, Suzanne, and because it is also close to the home of neighbors who are key witnesses in the case, Prosecutor Linda Stanley asked Judge Patrick Murphy to recopnsider bail in the case, potentially threatening Morphew's freedom ahead of trial unless a compromise can be reached.
Suzanne Morphew, 49, has not been heard from since she was reported missing on Mother’s Day, 2020 despite exhaustive attempts by law enforcement and by her family to locate her body. Prosecutors and Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze has said she was killed by her husband.
Prosecutors believe Morphew killed his wife sometime between Saturday afternoon, May 9 and Sunday morning May 10 after he discovered her texting with a paramour. Morphew has maintained his innocence saying Suzanne was either killed by a mountain lion or kidnapped.
Morphew's defense attorneys have said prosecutors can't prove Suzanne Morphew is dead, much less who may have killed her.
According to court documents obtained by The Gazette, Morphew is paying rent on a home near the Chaffee County Courthouse within reach of cellphone towers. Prosecutors want him to live there so they can keep tabs on his location.
No timetable for a ruling on the issue has been announced by Chaffee County District Judge Patrick Murphy.
His four week trial is set for May 2022.