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Suzanne Morphew Murder: Husband Barry Morphew Appears in Court

(CBS4) -- Barry Morphew, charged with the murder of his wife, Suzanne, who disappeared more than a year ago, appeared before a judge for the second time Thursday.

(credit: CBS)

Morphew, who is now represented by the Eytan Neilson firm, sat shackled, quietly in the court room. Unlike his initial appearance at the beginning of the month, there were no family members present in the courtroom. There were however, more than 1,000 people who attended the hearing virtually, including family members of Suzanne Morphew.

While Thursday's hearing was a simple status conference -- one thing was clear, the year-long investigation produced an enormous amount of documentation, or discovery -- something Morphew's defense team said they had yet to receive from prosecutors.

"Mr. Morphew has been sitting in a jail cell, a cage while this is going on," said attorney Iris Eytan.

While prosecutors were within the appropriate timeframe to deliver the discovery, the judge order the team make it available to the defense by the end of the day Wednesday. The discovery includes more than 10,000 pages of police reports, search warrants and other materials.

Judge Patrick Murphy was expected to decide on the arrest affidavit, which is still sealed -- but he opted to wait. He said the court will first decide if a hearing is necessary to make a decision.

"I can either set a hearing or make decision based upon the pleadings," said Judge Murphy.

A majority of the status conference was focused on ensuring the preservation of evidence, from biological evidence to text messages to witness interviews.

At one point, Eytan, wanting to ensure future witness interviews would be recorded, told the court that her office could provide a tape recorder if the sheriff's office didn't have the financial resources.

"We might be in the sticks out here…" the judge began, implying they could likely afford a tape recorder.

Due to an overloaded docket, the court decided the next hearing for Morphew will be a preliminary hearing -- combined with proof evident/presumption great. The judge will decide if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

The hearings are set for four days: Monday, Aug. 9-10. They will resume Aug. 23.


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