CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Prior to his arrest for the murder of his wife, Barry Morphew asked investigators for immunity during the course of the investigation. The preliminary hearing for Morphew continued Monday with testimony from multiple investigators.
One, former FBI agent Johnathan Grusing, told the court Morphew asked him for immunity saying, “And what about immunity? Can you given me immunity if I just sit and open up my life to you?”
The former agent got to know the Morphew’s lives well since Suzanne Morphew was reported missing. He even gained the trust of Barry who he later arrested. He said Barry seemed surprised telling the agent he trusted him and wondered how he could’ve done this to him.
Grusing, one of many investigating the case, testified about his theory for Suzanne’s disappearance. He believes Barry shot her with a tranquilizer dart on the afternoon of May 9, 2020, but Barry says she was alive and well.
According to an interview with Grusing, Barry said they had a steak dinner on the evening of May 9, turned their phones off, went for a hike to Fooses Lake and made love.
Grusing said her last communication with anyone was May 9 at 2:17 p.m. and told Barry there’s no way she would’ve been without her phone the entire evening and into the next day.
According to Grusing, Barry said “yeah,” looked at the ground and kicked some dirt around.
He told investigators the information made him “look like the bad guy.”
Prosecutors also pointed out some inconsistencies in his story about the steak dinner. When asked why only one plate was discovered in the dishwasher, Grusing said Barry’s story changed from multiple steaks to one steak shared on one plate.
On the morning of May 10, Barry said he saw his wife sleeping in bed, and told investigators he was confident she was there because he saw a lump and heard her snoring.
Barry left around 5 a.m. that morning for his job in Broomfield, but was asked about a detour he took that seemed odd to investigators.
Grusing said he turned left on Highway 50 instead of right, which Barry said he did to go look at a bull elk’s antlers and that it was with a herd of cows.
Andy Rohrick, the Undersheriff for the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, testified Monday saying in May it would be unlikely to see antlers or a bull elk with herds at this time because bulls are in rut, or mating season.
It was a similar theory with the tranquilizer dart gun. Barry said it was possible he used the gun in April to shoot two deer. He wanted to take their “horns” so he shot them with a dart and sawed the horns off. The dart would allow them to wake up and run away. Rohrick testified it would be extremely rare to see a deer with horns in April. He also testified they were never able to find the horns Barry claimed to have taken.
Much of Monday’s focus was on the tranquilizer dart gun.
Grusing said he called a Colorado Parks and Wildlife to get a better idea of the impacts of the darts on animals. He was directed to a veterinarian for CPW with decades of experience.
Without being specific, Grusing asked the veterinarian about the impacts the dart would have on a 120-pound female. She told him since they are designed to go through animal hide, it would cause a hematoma on a human. For a 120-pound female, eventually they would start to act “drunk” and “wobbly” and that it would take around 8 to 10 minutes to knock the individual out. They could be unconscious for eight hours and breathing would become difficult because of brain hypoxia. She said if the person was lying on her back, breathing would sound like a snore.
Prior to wrapping up for the day, Barry’s defense team focused their attention once again on Suzanne’s affair and how her husband repeatedly told investigators he didn’t believe she was having one.
“Because of her relationship with the Lord, it’s not how her mind works,” Barry said during one interview with investigators.
As the defense was rehashing the fact Suzanne hid the relationship from her husband for two years, Barry physically sunk in his chair in courtroom and appeared to wipe a tear from his eye.
The last day for the preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Aug. 24.