The second day of preliminary hearings for the murder trial of Barry Morphew kicked off Tuesday detailing text messages missing Colorado mom Suzanne Morphew exchanged with both her husband and a longtime lover just days before her disappearance on Mother’s Day in 2020.
Suzanne Morphew was reported missing on May 10, 2020. Investigators assume she is dead, but no human remains have been found.
Testimony from the Chaffee County Courthouse on Tuesday also revealed that Barry Morphew took his phone on and off airplane mode in the early morning hours that Mother’s Day — while he made several stops to throw out trash and check into a Holiday Inn Express in Bloomington, Colorado.
Google data unearthed by investigators showed Barry also showed up for a job for Garrett Construction and completed about 15 minutes of work, removing blocks from a retaining wall before leaving. He came to the site despite knowing that construction work could not be legally completed on a Sunday in the city of Bloomington, former FBI agent Johnny Grusing, the third witness called so far, testified.
The FBI also obtained surveillance video showing Barry carrying several bags to dumpsters at the motel. He also stopped to dispose of trash at a Men’s Warehouse and a bus stop. When asked by investigators, Barry said he threw out tranquilizer material. He admitted he owned guns for hunting.
SUZANNE MORPHEW’S AFFAIR REVEALED AT MURDER TRIAL, BODYCAM SHOWS DEPUTIES FINDING HER MOUNTAIN BIKE
At 6:10 a.m. on the morning of his wife’s disappearance, Barry also sent her a text message.
“You up? Happy Mother’s Day. I love you,” Barry wrote. He also texted his own mother.
Suzanne’s abandoned mountain bike would be found later that same day by deputies not far from her home.
During shocking testimony Monday, investigators revealed she had been having a nearly two-year affair with a man named Jeff Libler. The two had gone to high school together in Indiana. Libler’s cellphone was pinging on towers in Michigan the same day Suzanne went missing.
FBI agent Kenneth Harris testified Tuesday that Libler told investigators he was working on a dock project during the time Suzanne vanished, and credit card records corroborated those claims, showing he purchased supplies at a hardware store in Michigan during that time frame.
Libler also texted Suzanne to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, acknowledging in the message that the holiday might be difficult for her after having lost her own mother. He sent another message on May 11, 2021, a day after Suzanne was reported missing, wishing her luck with an appointment she had for cancer treatment. That was their last known correspondence.
Harris described Libler as the opposite of Barry, as he often showered Suzanne with compliments.
Before vanishing, Suzanne had employed the help of a voice-activated spy pen to find out if Barry was cheating on her, but investigators said there was no evidence suggesting any extra-marital affair on his part. Investigators also do not believe Barry knew of his wife’s affair with Libler — though Suzanne’s friend, Holly Wilson, told investigators Barry had accused his wife of cheating in the past.
MORPHEW MURDER TRIAL: HUSBAND CHARGED IN WIFE’S MURDER DENIED BOND AS SPY PEN COMES UNDER SCRUTINY
“I’m done. I could care less about what you’ve been up to for years. We need to figure this out civilly,” Suzanne wrote in a text message to Barry on May 6, 2020, days before vanishing.
“I promise you, you are wrong about all the crazy thoughts about me,” Barry responded to his wife. “Why would I want another, only a fool would stray from an angel like you.”
Suzanne and Libler’s relationship had stretched across the U.S., as the two had previously met up in New Orleans in February 2019, in Indiana in April 2019, and in Michigan in October 2019. The two paused their relationship before Christmas, after Libler’s daughter found out about the affair and told an uncle and her older brothers about it. Suzanne and Libler later picked communication back up.
Suzanne’s iCloud account discovered on Dec. 27, 2019 that she had been researching language schools in Ecuador after Libler allegedly told her that the country was a cheap place to live and with good health care.
Harris, the FBI agent, testified Libler was the one who got Suzanne into mountain biking and drinking IPA. The two described each other as soulmates, Harris said. Barry Morphew’s defense attorney, Iris Eytan, asked if the two exchanged nude photographs, and Harris responded that the pair had.
They met again in Florida during February 2020. Libler had planned a trip to Colorado in March 2020, but travel restrictions imposed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic preventing him from coming to visit. The man she’d had an affair with for two years did not contact authorities after Suzanne disappeared but spoke to investigators once they identified who he was, investigators said.
“If he knew about me, he would have come after me,” Libler allegedly told authorities, referring to Barry. “I just don’t think he knew that Suzanne and I were together.”
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Besides being charged with his wife’s murder, Barry is also accused of submitting a fraudulent vote on his wife’s behalf for then-President Trump in November’s election.
Barry Morphew is charged with tampering with his wife’s deceased body around the time she was killed as well as with evidence in the case from last May through early March, about two months before he was arrested. He is also charged with illegally possessing a short rifle and using deceit to influence law enforcement officers from the time his wife disappeared until he was arrested.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.