EP. 61 BARRY MORPHEW CASE
Hi, this is Colin McCallin. Thank you for listening. Please do us a favor and leave us a five star review wherever you get your podcasts and subscribe so that you don't miss any future episodes. Thank you.
Welcome to is this legal here? Your host attorney calling and Russell Hebets.
Hello? Hello. Hello everyone. My name is Russell Hebets. I am here coming to you from sunny Denver, Colorado with my partner, Colin McCallin.
We are here for episode 60, one of the, is this legal podcast.
Not that we're keeping track,
But we are on this episode. We are gonna be breaking down the Barry Morphew case. For those of you who have not been following it, it has made news both locally and nationally for the past, probably two plus weeks. This is a case where Barry fuse wife Suzanne went missing back on May 10th, 2020 on mother's day. She purportedly purportedly, went out for a mountain bike ride and never returned a neighbor called it in as a missing person. Her bike was found, her helmet was close to a mile away, but no body was ever recovered. No other evidence of foul play was there at the scene. The preliminary hearing, well, let me back up almost one full year later, Barry Morphew was arrested and charged with first degree murder for the killing of his wife.
He was also charged with, I think, um, evidence tampering, um, uh, unlawful disposal of a body things associated with, you know, uh, first degree murder. Um, but, uh, the reason we're talking about the case now is, uh, just last week, um, Mr. Morphew had his preliminary hearing and a preliminary hearing, or his pH as we call it in the business. Um, that is it's a safeguard, uh, for people charged with serious felonies where they get to have the evidence in the case, heard by a judge and a judge decides whether or not there is probable cause for that case to go forward to a jury trial. It, it is kind of a miniature trial though, right? Russ, I mean, witnesses are called. Evidence is presented.
It is like a miniature trial, but there's some very key differences between a preliminary hearing and a trial in a trial. Well, first of all, in a preliminary hearing, hearsay is ADMI. So the rules of evidence are relaxed,
Right? Yeah. They don't have to call every witness like they would in a trial, you know, to line up chain of custody or eyewitness testimony. I mean, largely these are detectives. Yeah. Who are just saying what they found in the case generally.
And the detective in this hearing can say, I talked to this person and that person and the other person, and here's what each of those people said, right. And you have a right to cross examine the detective, but not all the people he spoke to. So the, the rules of evidence are relaxed. Another the biggest key difference is this is not a proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard. Is it
Colin? No, this is probable cause a judge has to decide whether or not there's probable cause. Meaning, um, is, uh, you know, is it likely that, uh, a crime was committed and that the defendant committed the crime? That's really all a judge is deciding here. Um, they're required to view the evidence in the light, most bolt to the prosecution. So, um, you know, basically, so
Ty goes to the runner, Ty
Goes to the runner and the runner in this case is the prosecution prosecution just at this stage. Um, you know, and, and in the preliminary hearing, uh, this is a judicial mechanism that in, in your jurisdiction, you may have grand juries who make this decision. It's the same type of thing. Um, in Colorado, you can have a preliminary hearing in some other states, grand juries, which is a large number of jurors, uh, hear evidence and they decide what the charges should be. We did a whole podcast on grand juries. Uh, but this is not a grand jury case. Now this is a public case though. And so for the first time, um, you know, the media is finding out the public is finding out what the prosecution has in this case, because let's, let's call it what it is. This is essentially a homicide without a body and,
And alleged homicide. Right?
Right. That's a fair point. According to the defense, there was no homicide or, or at least, uh, you know, certainly their client had nothing to do with it. So, you know, the we're gonna be kind of talking about, uh, a murder case without a body and the pitfalls that exist for both the prosecution and the defense for this type of a case. Um, it's also worth mentioning right now, just in terms of the context, we're expect the, the judge is going to issue a written ruling on whether or not there's probable cause for these charges to go forward on September 17th, we're gonna be putting this podcast out before that happens. So we will update you later. But right now the evidence is in, but a judge has not made the decision yet. So
You get to go back after the 17th and critique what we said about this and what we said the judge is gonna do or not to. And at the end, we are gonna give you our predictions yep. As to what the judge is gonna decide as to probable cause in this case, because remember, if the defense is successful in this preliminary hearing, the case is done.
If there's no probable cause to go forward, uh, that's a finding that the judge can make this case is done and this man will not face trial. The case will be dismissed.
Right. And so just, just like, just to let you know, um, Colin mentioned this, but smaller charges, misdemeanors, minor cases, police can basically say that they made a finding of probable cause and that's how they charged the case. And you don't always get this judicial review of probable cause.
That's correct. Um, now Russ, I, this might be news to some people, but I, you know, can you correct the notion? Can you actually charge someone with murder if you don't have a body, if you don't have a murder weapon, uh, is that, is that legal,
That is legal as long as they have some evidence that the murder or the crime was committed. So this is, this is different from our, if, if anyone's a, a permanent listener. Yeah. Episode 22, we did an episode called Corpus deec eye. It was actually called where's the body. But we
Talked about somewhat ironically.
Right? Right, exactly. So it seems like it's the same as this case, but it's different because in Corpus deec eye, that's, that's a legal term of art that basically says where's the body. But that talks about when there is a confession, but no body. Right? So like give an example, Colin.
Sure. If, if, if I walk into a police station and say, look, arrest me, I just robbed a bank an hour ago. Um, I did it at, uh, you know, first know in Colorado Boulevard. And I, you know, I took $15,000. That's what I did. If, if, if I'm making that up and the police go and they check out the first bank and they confirm, I was never there, that there was no evidence that I committed a crime, they don't get to arrest me and charge me with a crime. And the reason they don't get to do that is because the only thing that they have, have to establish my guilt is what I just told them. Uh, Corpus elect principle just basically protects the defendant saying, look, the police have to have some, it doesn't have to be a lot. Right. But at least some corroborating evidence that, that a crime was committed. Would
You say a scintilla,
A scintilla is the illegals firm that they need. And I don't know what a scintilla is, but it's a suffice to say, sliver, it's a tiny amount. It's like a sliver of, I'm gonna, I'm gonna add a, a scintilla of cinnamon to this, these cookies, you know, it's, it's a small dash. Um, so that's not what we're talking about in this particular case, even though we don't have a body, as you're gonna see, we're about to go through it. The district attorney definitely has some arguments to point to as to why they think that Suzanne Morphews death, uh, not only happened, but happened at the, at the hands of her husband, Barry morph.
So let's, let's dive into this. What is the DA's argument that a crime act actually committed? Because remember we have, we have no body, we have no murder weapon. We have no crime scene. Yep. We have, we have none of that. But the, the police and the da do have some things, first thing they have is a missing person
That that's right. And so we're gonna go through, uh, and talk about the, the DA's case here. Uh, and then we'll do the defense arguments after our, is this legal segment, but starting with what, where Russ just went, you know, we're in 2021 Russ, um, there are cameras everywhere there. Everybody has a phone. It, it's very, very rare in this day and age that a person just disappears without a trace. And you know, that is, that's essentially what the defense is kind of saying. They're, they're not offering explanation about that disappearance. They're just saying that she's in the wind that she's disappeared, but you know, she's still could be alive. Well, I mean, again, thinking about this, this is like not the 1970s or 1980s where law enforcement agencies don't always have efficient communication or where we just don't have technological advances relating to cell phone tracking, DNA testing, things like that. I mean, we've got a pretty modern technologically advanced criminal justice system. P people just don't walk away. Do they,
Russ? I mean, it can happen, but it is, it is unusual to basically just drop off the grid. So completely where there's no trace of that person.
And of course, family members, I mean, this woman, I believe left behind a daughter, uh, she has a sister, two daughters, two daughters, you know, is so it, when you interview those people who say, my mom would never do this, she would never just leave. That's pretty compelling. I mean, it certainly makes it very probable that she is no longer alive.
So the prosecution's argument is essentially, there's no way she would've left. And they have this, a bunch of circumstantial evidence that points to things like this was a very unhappy marriage that's right, right. They received text messages. They, they got, they served like over a hundred subpoenas on this case. They got text messages between, uh, Suzanne morph and a friend with Zan texting that she felt unsafe in the relationship that she felt stuck, that she couldn't get away, that Barry morph would go get super angry at the drop of a hat. All of these things that the da and the prosecution used to paint the picture of a woman who was in trouble before this, even this disappearance even happened.
Well, not only was her marriage in trouble. Um, but let's sprinkle a little of this on top Russ. Uh, she was having an affair at the time of her disappearance. In fact, um, her last communications via text were sent out to her lover who, according to the evidence she had been involved with for about, uh, almost two years,
Yeah. Going on two years,
Uh, prior to her disappearance. And, uh, she was communicating with him, you know, up, up to, and including the day that she disappeared. And the prosecution's theory about that is certainly that gives Barry morph you a reason to be upset with his wife, but it also kind of lends to the timing if he discovered the fact that she was communicating with this, man, it might support their theory that he reacted poorly to that and murdered his wife.
And, and, and here you go, like that is a perfect little microcosm of the DA's whole case, because sure. It makes sense that that may have happened. It seems logical that if you have an angry, jealous guy who finds out about an affair, he reacts in a fit of rage and he kills her, but they don't have any evidence that he found out
About this affair. Right? Like,
Correct. There's no, there's zero evidence that he found out now she was having the affair. Um, but so, you know, what else, what else they have other than, you know, this motive, which, you know, may or may not hold water, but they have other things like when they executed a search warrant at the house, they found a cap who tranquilize her darts. They found a tranquilizer dart gun that was Barry Morphew at the house. Right. And so like, they are taking the leap that, Hey, maybe he Tran her and then he took care of her at his leisure. Right. Right.
Well, speaking of taking care of her, um, let's talk about what else the evidence has revealed. Um, so the evidence that reveals remember she, she went missing, she was reported missing on May 10th. Um, the evening of May 9th into May 10th, Barry Morphew had his phone turned into airplane mode. Um, now interestingly enough, we, we don't know why that is. Um, he,
He, he didn't, he basically says if my phone was in airplane, plane mode, I did it
Accidentally. Right. And, um, you know, interestingly enough, airplane mode, doesn't disable tracking abil capabilities for the,
For any would be criminals out there. You, you think you're not gonna get tracked by your phone because it's an airplane mode. Think again. Yeah.
Uh, just leave that phone at home, uh, before committing crime. Right. Should we just come out and
Say it? I mean, I mean, I think you basically like put it in the back of a back of an Uber and, and let it drive around for a while
Frame an Uber driver, if you can. Sure. Let's, let's do that Russ. But, um, but here, here's what we know from the tracking. This is interesting. The tracking data on his phone shows that on May 10th, he went to five different locations. Um, and we don't know what he did at those locations, but what, what makes those is they were all trash disposal locations. So at these locations, there's either a dumpster or a place to dispose of stuff. He goes on five, separate trash runs all on the same day. All right. Now, if that wasn't suspicious enough between also Russ between May 9th and May 10th, um, you know, again, the technology that we have in these days, the investigators were able to determine that his car, the car doors had been opened and closed three to four times in the early morning hours, but the car didn't go anywhere.
Yeah. And this is early morning, morning hours. This is like early morning, like 3:30 AM on May 10th. That's the same date she was reported missing by a neighbor that early evening or late yeah. 5:30 PM about right.
So there's of course this theory that she, some, that he somehow disposed of the body, perhaps in several trips now. No, no human rain remains were ever recovered from any of these locations. Right?
Yeah. And they obviously, they investigated this. And so they really, they found nothing incriminating. Right. But for the fact that he went to five on five different trash roads
And he didn't have, I, I don't remember what he said, but he didn't have the most believable explanation for those trash runs either. He couldn't quite remember why he went on five separate runs or offered. He just said I was disposing of certain things, but it was obvious. The police did not believe him. Right. What else do we have Russell?
So, so this is, this is one of my favorites. This is not directly related to the murder, but this is something that he did about four months after she went missing, what Barry Morphew did. And he's charged criminally in a separate case for this. He got her presidential ballot in the mail.
This is November, 2020. Yep.
He filled it out in her name. He, he forged her signature and he dropped it off saying my wife votes for this candidate. Right.
Uh, pretty interesting. Yeah. People,
People are probably listening saying, okay, well that, that's not a very good thing to do. He's charged separately. What does that have to do with this murder investigation? And why does it matter in this murder investigation?
It, it may not mean anything. Um, I think, but I think it's it. What, what the word I, I, it comes to my mind though. Russ is bizarre. Um, you know, it, it does seem a little bizarre that you would cast a vote on behalf of your missing wife who's been missing for formal months. Um, I don't know that, that it seems a little weird, you know, and, and I think that's something the prosecution are going to try and use potentially. I mean, I don't think they're gonna say that this is a motive. They killed her in order to forge her ballot. Four months later seems a little bit farfetched, but that'd be over. Nevertheless, that is something that came out of the prelim hearing, um, related to this case.
Well, and here's something interesting that is still going to be admissible in a criminal trial for murder. And it's gonna be admissible because forgery, which is what he's charged with is what's called a crime involving moral turpitude. That's right. Essentially it's a crime that involves lying in some way. And any evidence of prior crimes that involve lying is admissible in a totally separate criminal proceeding to show whether or not that person is trustworthy or not.
So if he tell, testified in his defense, the prosecution would be able to cross examine him, say, isn't it true, sir, that you, you knowingly filled out a false affidavit, um, and you know, claimed that your wife was voting for this person. And you submitted the ballot knowing that you weren't allowed to do that. That, that goes to his credibility as a witness.
Right. And then the prosecutor would say, knowing that she was dead, and he would say something that didn't contest the fact that she was dead. And then they'd say, I got you, you know, she's dead,
Right. If the theory being, if you're dishonest about this, what else are you being dishonest about?
Right. And, and as a juror, you might care about that.
Right? Couple other things of note, just cuz I'm sure you're wondering, uh, what about the guy? She was having an affair. We don't know a lot about this person, but we know that he lived in Michigan, that this relationship was long distance that when they would meet, they would meet in different cities, um,
Across the country. What,
According to the police investigation, this person is not a suspect.
Yeah. And presumably he was many states away at the time and he's not he's they wanted to talk to him to get her background with him, but he's not a person of interest in this case right
Now. They also, Russ, they also found a 22 caliber round of ammunition. That was right by her bed. Uh, the night that she went missing. Um, again, that's a fact that came out of the preliminary hearing. We don't have a murder weapon. We don't know that she was ever shot. Uh, so that's just kind of one of those things that's hanging out there. Um, but at least goes to show that this man did have, I mean, I think he did have a 22 caliber rifle, uh, and he did have ammunition and he did have these tranquilizer darts that he indicated that he was using to hunt ship monks. I believe something like that. Uh,
I read maybe it was chipmunks as well, but I read, he used it on deer to kind of preserve the, uh, preserve the meat. Got
It. Okay. Yeah. So, um, I don't know that that's kind of a summary of the prosecution's case. Um,
No, don't make up your mind yet. Yeah, because I mean, some of this sounds pretty damning. Right, right. Oh. And we didn't even say where they found the bike, they found the bike. Um, and then they found her helmet, like almost a mile away, her mountain bike, they didn't find any skid marks. They didn't find any damage to the bike. Although it was, was at the bottom of a ravine, they didn't find any damage to the helmet that indicate that would, that there was a bad crash and they didn't find the stuff that she would normally wear when she was biking, like a Camelback was in her car.
So, so all of that also goes to show like the DA's
Position is this was staged. Right. Right. So I think there were also some texts that Barry morph sent his wife that morning saying like happy mother's day, things like that. Again, the defense are gonna say, look that exonerates him. He didn't know she was missing. He was texting with her. Of course the prosecution's theory is those were done in an effort to cover his track. So, you know, some of this cuts both ways, folks. Um, now I'm sure that, uh, our listeners want to hear about the defense side. I mean, after all we are defense attorney. So, uh, what is the defense gonna do to, uh, combat this? But we are gonna get to the defense right after we take a short break to play. Is this legal with our guest of the week? We'll be back in a few.
Our next guest needs an introduction
Today. We are going to be playing. Is this legal with Alex? Stafford? Alex is a husband. He's a father of three kids. He knows cars and motorcycles like the back of his hand. But his true passion is beer. Alex is the man myth and legend behind the Instagram handle, beard hops and barley where Alex reviews, beer brew, beer, discusses beer, and of course, drinks beer. He must know what he's talking about because he currently has all the 8,000 Instagram followers. Let's get him over that hump. Please. Welcome to our show, Alex Stafford. Welcome Alex. Welcome Alex. How you doing today, man?
Doing pretty good. How about you guys?
I'm doing great, man. Doing great. Great, great to have you. Absolutely. Thanks. Tell us Alex, when did you, uh, when did you get into beer seriously?
Uh, man, that's a, that's kind of a tough question. Um, I would say it's probably been five years that I've been like heavily into like real craft beers. Um, you know, obviously, you know, been drinking other beer for a while, but you know, decided needed, wanted to, uh, try something with a little bit more flavor. Um, instead of your typical, you know, college light beers and you know, all that kind of fun stuff. So, um, my first like real foray into craft beer was obviously being from Wisconsin. Uh, new GLAS is kind of the brewer that got me into experiencing what beer can taste like. And then, uh, you know, from there things just kind of, I don't know, you know, what the right word for it is, but I guess snowballed, um, you know, again, being in Wisconsin got plenty of that. Um, so, you know, you got like your, your like local stuff outta Milwaukee, you know, uh, lakefront, Bri, you know, Frecker all that, all those places, that's kind of what, uh, sparked my interest into what else is out there in the rest of the country and world.
Awesome. And my understanding is that you actually like to home brew. In fact, my understanding I've tasted some of your beer before me and it's awesome. Uh, how did you get into that?
Um, I actually like, I mean, being, you know, into craft beer, I read about the process and, you know, I actually like researched how to home brew for probably th the first three years of being into craft beer in general, just understanding like how they got the flavors that they did and, you know, trying to figure out, you know, what made beer, beer, and after researching and understanding, you know, the process behind it. I finally decided to kind of dive in and bought my, uh, bought a bunch of stuff to be able to, to home brew started with like, uh, just standard, um, extract extract kits, um, which basically just uses malt syrups and does all the hard work for you. Um, so that's where I got my start and now I do, uh, all grain brewing, which is basically creating the malt syrup that you start with, uh, the kits and, uh, design it all yourself.
I mean, that's, that is awesome, Alex, and that sounds like really specialized. I think what all of our listeners wanna know right now is are you drinking a beer?
I can be. I wasn't sure if that was
Kosher. So I had one on standby.
That's the gonna man. I like the man who has a standby beer for a zoom meeting. That's, that's amazing that tells you anything you need to know about this man's dedication beer.
So Alex, I, I do have a question though, like, based on all that you said you researched it for like three years before you started, even with the kits. Is that what, if any of our listeners are into that? I mean, is that what it takes to get going and home brewing?
Absolutely not. I'm just really cheap into didn't wanna buy the stuff to do it. And so I just read how to do it. And then once I kind of was at a point where I was like, well, I really can't screw this up. I know it from like the back of my hand, I can finally spend the money to do it. So, and it sounds like it's even expensive to get into. I mean, you can, this is gonna reveal how cheap I am. Um, it's, I mean, you can get in, into home brewing for 70 bucks and wow. You know, it's very inexpensive. I mean now, I mean, now that I've kind of dove all in, I mean, I'm more than a thousand dollars into it and even that's just still like tip of the iceberg for what you can really invest into good home brewing, but it's just, I didn't wanna spend the money on something. I wasn't confident I knew how to do. Yeah. So that I'm very particular like that.
Well, if anyone out there is listening, you know, you could just hop on Alex's and probably get all the information you need to get really deep into beer.
That's right. Yeah.
Cops Farley, right?
Yes. And if people, I mean, if you wanna reach out and message me, I'm always, you know, more than happy to answer questions. I've helped other people in the past that had questions about home. Um, so I'm, I'm very open to helping people out and, you know, chatting about it.
Awesome Alex. Well, um, this man knows his beer. Uh, let's see if he knows his law because, uh, it is time to play. Is this legal Alex, are you ready for your scenario?
I am ready.
All right, here it goes. So our old friend JDI goes out drinking one night with some friends. He didn't plan on going out that night and he didn't plan on drinking her, getting drunk, but all of those things happened and he does in fact get really, really drunk. In fact, let's say he gets drunk on Alex's really nice craft beer. Uh, he stays out until the bar closes and he proceeds to ride his bike home smart. He doesn't drive rides his bike home. However, the next day, uh, when he wakes up with quite a hangover, he a closer look at his bike and realizes that this bike is not his, that he rode the wrong bike home. Just then the police knock on his door after tracking the bike to his house, JBA tells the police exactly what I told you happened. Now, Alex, for your benefit theft in Colorado is proven. If it can be established that the defendant knowingly obtained or exercised control over anything of value of another person without authorization and, and intended to deprive the other person permanently of the use of that thing of value. The question, sir, did JBA commit theft? Is this legal? What do
You think? Ooh, I didn't, I didn't think that was gonna be what the, the question was. I thought it was gonna be, was it okay for him to like drive or ride the bike under the influence? So you gimme a card?
That's that? That's another
Um, no, he's fine. I think he's fine.
Please tell us why,
Because he did not know that he took the wrong bike and he didn't have the in, you know, based off the way that the law reads the, you just said to me, he didn't have the intent of keeping it permanently.
Done. We have a winner, Alex, Alex nailed that one. Um, right. Yes. So this is, uh, the, this is one of those few examples of where voluntary intoxication is actually a defense to your crime. Uh, Alex hit the nail on the head basically. Um, this guy, JBA never had the intent to steal someone's bike because he was too drunk to know the difference. So, um, we, we absolutely agree with Alex. He could not have formed the intent to deprive another person of that, uh, bicycle. So therefore we don't think he's guilty of theft.
And that's because of that mental state of intention, like had it been a bar fight, you don't have to have, have that intention. So he would've been convicted at that point. You're saying
He, he assaulted somebody rough. If
He assaulted someone, if he struck someone in the bar, he was too drunk to know what he was doing, but he just threw a mean cross and knocked someone out. He would still be charged with assault because it's not one of those specific intent crimes that Colin just talked. Now, Alex, let me, let me throw a little wrinkle in it here. Let's say, Let's say he woke up in the morning. He looked at the bike. He said, oh man, this is not my bike. I rode the wrong bike home. Then he said, you know, I'm hungover. My bike is still there. Whoever's bike. This is can to ride my bike home. I'm just gonna keep this bike now. Is he guilty of theft?
Yes. Because now he plans on keeping it permanently, which is where, you know, the unknowing part doesn't come into play. It's the fact that he's holding onto it and now, yeah, he's stole it,
Alex. I mean, if beer ever doesn't work out for you, you have a bright future in criminal defense.
I was gonna ask when are, are we adding Stafford to the, to the door now, too?
Yes. Because uh, anybody comes on to our podcasts, drinking a beer. Uh, your, your ACE is in my book. That's So, um, Alex, man, we appreciate it. You've been an awesome guest. Let's uh, we're gonna wrap it up. Please tell all of our listeners one more time where they can find your contents.
Uh, you can find me on Instagram. Um, the handle's gonna be beard hops and barley, uh, it's beard. Like what's on my face hops. Cause
You've got a beard. That's about a foot long from what I can tell how long you've
Been growing up, man. Um, I mean, I haven't been clean shaving in probably 12 years, so it's yeah. If I shave my kids are in for a surprise cause they won't know who the hell I am.
Awesome. Anything else you wanna plug Alex?
No, I'm just on Instagram right now. Um, it's been a while since I've posted anything simply because I've been enjoying time with the family and kind of cleansing my pallet beard wi or beard beer wise, uh, you know, gotta get back to an appreciation for, uh, the craft. And so, yeah, I'll be posting again soon. So if anybody checks out my Instagram and you see, I haven't posted since April, that's gonna be changing here in the next week or so.
Awesome. Well now you have a, now you have a guest appearance to post about too. So, uh, everybody absolutely. Uh, please call to action. Go check out Alex's stuff, Alex. Thank you so much for of joining us today. Have a wonderful day, man. Thanks
Alex. Thanks for having me. You guys too. All
Right. Okay. Bye. Bye.
Welcome back everyone. We are gonna get back to the Barry moue case and now we're gonna hear the arguments that the defense has everyone out there in podcast. Land is thinking this guy definitely did it where we would convict and let's put this mad man behind bars, but you haven't heard the defense side yet? No. Okay. So let's, let's talk about the defense side. Let, can we start with like the giant elephant in the room? Sure. Which is there's no body, there's no weapon there. Crime scene. There's no confession.
Those, uh, those are really, really big missing pieces. I mean the absence of just one of those four elements, uh, is, is usually enough to give any jury pause, but throw in the fact that re we, we don't have any of those things. We can't, you know, prosecution's not gonna be able to explain how she died. They're not gonna be able to explain when she died. They're not gonna be able to explain where her body was taken or how it was transported. I mean, certainly not in a complete way. And again, like Russ alluded to, this is not a case where, uh, there's been some Perry Mason moment where all of a sudden Barry Morphy came in and said, okay, I got you deal with this pressure anymore. I killed her. Here's where you can find her, you know, give me my life sentence. So yeah, those, those things are all problems. And, and honestly that's the, just the beginning of the prosecution's problems, Russ. So not only do we not have any body, but the, the police did, they, they took a cadaver sniffing dog and attempted to get the dog to alert at Barry Murphy's car. Uh, the one in question that he had taken to these dump sites and had been, you know, mysteriously, opening and closing at three, four in the morning, those dogs did not alert to the scent of a dead body.
And that is huge because that's exactly what the da is alleging or speculating about with these trash dumps. They're saying that, you know, he went, he did it for a reason. He went to these five different trash runs. Well, if he did that, then you're saying he's disposing of a body, but there was ever in his truck. Right? And his truck is what he was driving the whole time. His truck is the doors open and close. His truck is what he took on his trip up to Broomfield, Colorado, his trip, his truck is what he was driving on. These trash runs. So clearly that is proof that he was not disposing of a body on these five times. And if the DAS got that wrong, what else did they get wrong?
That's right. And remember, let's remember our burden of proof here, folks. I mean, again, to, to our old hat listeners, this is review, but this is a criminal case. So Mr. Morph, you does not have to prove his innocence here. The state has to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They have the entire burden of proof. So it really is what can the da prove and what can't they prove? And it seems like they cannot prove anything about the, well, they don't have a lot of evidence linking her, her remains if they exist to his car or to his home. Right. Um, um, you know, we mentioned no weapon again, you know, the prosecution made comments about the fact that these Tran darts and you know, this ammunition and this rifle's 22 rifle was found, uh, in his possession. Uh, I mean that, that's fine. Uh, but we have zero evidence to show that that's how she died.
Yeah. We, we actually have a deputy testified at the preliminary hearing, the one who found the tranquilizer gun. Maybe he found the dart too, but he definitely found the gun and he testified on cross to questioning from the defense attorney. He said, the gun did not look like it had been used in a while. And to him, the gun looked to be inoperable. So you have them making a big deal about these tranquilizer darts in this cap that was found in the dryer of the house. But you have a cop saying, yeah, you know what? It doesn't look like this was fired time within the timeframe of her disappearance.
All right. Well, can, can I sprinkle a little bit more juiciness right here?
Let's do some nutmeg this time.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Little, little nutmeg. Um, here's some nutmeg for you at Russ and, and I, I will tell you, we don't have a ton of information about this, but this is pretty fascinating. So the police searched Suzanne morphs car and on the glove compartment, they recovered three part DNA profiles related to three separate unsolved sexual assault, abduction cases from three different states. Um, now here, here's what we don't know about that we we're, we're unclear if those profiles relate to one person or if those files are from three separate actors. The point is, is that if, uh, we, we fully expect Barry Morpheus defense attorney to absolutely pounce on the fact that, uh, there were three other sources of DNA in that car. None of which belonged to her husband that the accused killer, right. He
Was exclude rooted from those samples. So we know that someone who was under investigation for sex assault was at some point near herb glove box.
Yeah, that's huge. And, and again, I, we, we don't quite know that was not a lot of detail, uh, about those profiles. We're probably gonna learn more about them later. Uh, but that's, I mean, that's certainly I think a blow to the prosecution, um, you know, and something that certainly might create reasonable doubt. Okay. Could she have been abducted? Could this have been a random thing where she was stocked targeted was dove and kill, killed and disposed of without anybody, uh, knowing that this actually happened. And you know, this certainly lends to that, that theory. Um, you know, I mean, I I'll throw this out there. I'm wondering if any of our listeners have ever seen the movie or read the book gone, girl, you know, and for those who haven't, I'm not gonna spoil it, but you know, there that there is this notion that someone could just go missing, um, you know, perhaps in an effort to get revenge on their former spouse, for some reason seems pretty farfetched. But look, I mean, our imitates life, people have that book in the back of their minds. Sometimes I certainly did when I was looking at this. And if reasonable doubt is the standard, is there reasonable doubt that this man actually did it, you know, in light of all this stuff, maybe.
Right. I mean, there's, there's certainly a lot that looks fishy at a very minimum. And does it rise to the level of beyond a reasonable doubt? I find it so tough to get there on this case, but remember we haven't had a trial yet. Yeah. We've just had a preliminary hearing
Now. No Barry morph you by the way his attorneys are, um, he's got two private attorneys and, uh, they are really trying to show that he loved his wife, that he wants his wife to come home. Um, you know, and that he has no idea what happened to her and he misses her and that he loves her very much. Um, you know, so he's, there, there were, you know, journalists reported, he was crying in the courtroom, uh, as they read his texts about how much he loved his wife, things like that. You know? So I think the defense, uh, strategy certainly also is going to show this man as a misunderstood husband, who's been wrongfully accused of murder who had nothing to do with it. You know, I think they're gonna try and inject a, a heavy, uh, dose of that human element to try and make this guy look like the biggest victim imaginable. Um, you know, and, and, and I think, I think that's a sound strategy in this case.
Yeah, well, yeah, we'll, we'll see how successful that strategy is. Um, but right now, what we're waiting on is that September 17th ruling from the judge, the judge was asked to rule immediately. And he basically said, you know what? I would rather take my time and get this right. Rather than go quickly and get it wrong. And he's looking at over 20 hours of testimony, like this was significant preliminary hearings, usually last in afternoon, this, this was a big one. This was went on for multiple days. And it was a lot of testimony. So he's gonna issue a ruling on the 17th and Colin, what do we think that ruling is gonna be?
Okay. So remember again, uh, preliminary hearing, we're just trying to determine probable cause. That just means, okay, this case can go to a jury. It's not a finding of guilt. It's not a finding of innocence. Um, it's just a kind of a commentary on, is there enough evidence in this case? And, um, I certainly believe that a judge will find pro BLE cause here. And I believe that for a number of reasons, first of all, I do think there's probable cause. Um, I do think that there is evidence to enough evidence to show that a crime was committed and that Barry morph few committed the crime, uh, the details, uh, the nitty gritty of, of how that happened. Yeah. Huge question mark. I think in the aggregate big picture wise, I think that there is probable cause here, but I also think that a judge is going to have some pressure to find probable cause, because if he doesn't, he's gonna have to answer to the community. I mean, judges are held, they're retained by the voting public. They're not elected in some states, but they, they come up for attention and you know what this judge has the ability to do is say, okay, well, I'm just gonna let this go to a jury trial and let 12 people decide this. I'm not gonna be the sole literal judge, jury and execution or not on whether or not the case should go forward. So I think there's some political pressure on him to, uh, to find, cause that's my vote.
And, and for me, I, I agree with that second point, I think he is going to find probable cause. And I think he's going to find probable cause because of what a media case, this is, right? Like the media, let's be honest. The media is not kind to the accused, no matter what they're accused of that's
Right. Especially in a case like this, I mean, there's a lot of sexy, juicy G details here. I mean, missing wife, there's an affair. Um, we got the voting thing. I mean, there, there's a lot of kind of juicy nuggets about this case that, that are going to create media media appeal
And, and people who are reading these media reports have an opinion. Oh yeah. And I would, I would wager that most people think he did it. So the judge has that low community pressure and the judge can, if he can just get it past preliminary hearing, he can wash his hands of it. If and when a jury comes back, not guilty, he can say that was a jury of his peers. And I had nothing to do with it. I was just overseeing the case. Like if this were not a media case, I think it'd be a really close call. I honestly lean a, a little on the side of, there's not enough here to create probable cause I just have a hard time strictly on the facts, stripping away all the political, the media, the emotional inter interactions here. I have a hard time saying there's probable that a crime was committed when you don't have any of those main things. And all you have is very circumstantial evidence.
Now, you know, there, there, I, I looked a little bit at the history, like, is there a history of being able to get a murder conviction without a body? It's very, very difficult for us. I mean, most of the cases where, uh, you know, murders were quote unquote solved or, or murder went, you know, was, was convicted murder. It usually is in the connection of like, maybe there's a serial killer who got caught in one, a homicide. So then he confessed to others, even though those bodies may have never been discovered. So
There was a body in that one.
Right. Exactly. You know, but maybe it's just, it can't be found at a time or decomposition, whatever else, whatever else, that's one category, you know, there's other examples where, uh, you know, they never found a body, but the defendant confessed to the murder and there was enough evidence that support or the con conviction. There are very, very few cases like this one where the accused was actually convicted of murderer when the whole time there was no body, no murder weapon, no crime scene and where the person denied involvement from the very beginning. So,
So if that's the case we're sitting in here, why is the DA going forward?
So, I mean, that's a great question. The district attorney is also a, uh, a government official that is, is, is elected. That is, uh, that does answer to the public. And I think that this is one of those cases that if you're a DA, you have to bring these charges. I mean, cuz okay, what's, let's argue the converse. If we know all of this information and the DA elected, not even to bring it to preliminary hearing, not even a charge and just kind of see what happens. I, I think I, I don't think that would be a good look for the district attorney.
Yeah. And, and I think that's all true. And even beyond the political look, the optics of it from the DA, you also probably have a DA's office where they believe he did this. They, they believed truly that he murdered her. And if they believe that, you know, maybe they have just a, a responsibility to try to bring this person who they believe to be a murderer to justice. Well,
You know, it's that notion it's always the husband, right? It's it, you know, you, you hear that on TV, on cops. It's, it's always the husband, right. I'm sorry, but that, it it's very difficult if you're in law enforcement to kind of shed that bias because the simplest explanation is usually the most likely right. Russ that's that's right. And, and if you break this down and if you, you, you look at this troubled marriage, you look at these texts, you look at the, the weird behavior of Barry morph. You, he's just not acting like a person who might, you know, who, who might normally act in a certain way with his wife's disappearance. You know, you, you look at that and you're like, that does not pass the smell test. It's really hard to sh shed that bias and just ignore it. Um, and I, I think, I mean, honestly, I, I, I think that that may be a mindset that carries through to the minds of a juror. We'll see.
I think that that's absolutely true. And just, you, you, you brought something up that I want to touch on. Like the fact that he did not act consistently with how people believe a, a husband who lost their wife missing would act like that is a very slippery slope because for anyone who followed the Amanda Knox case, where she was charged in Italy, the whole reason was charged was because she was acting inconsistently with how someone would act. And she spent at least a year in custody there before she was proven to be absolutely innocent. Like she was not guilty.
Okay. I'll give you that. But then I'll throw right back at you, Christopher Watts. Remember the guy who, uh, killed his wife and two daughters. Yes. And you know, I mean for two or three days, he's on body cam, just acting completely weird. And his neighbors are saying, he's acting weird. He's not acting right. This is not how he normally acts. And, you know, ti suspicion immediately tightened against him. And he is currently serving three life sentences after he confessed to murdering his, uh, uh, those three women. So, so
We have examples from both sides, people. Yeah. You, you guys, you guys be the jury before the real jury
There is, is a real jury,
There, if this case gets to a jury trial, so if we're gonna wait and see with all of you, um, we will give you an update the next time we are, uh, able to do so on this. A very fascinating case. If you guys have an opinion on this, we would love to hear it. Um, now, I mean, gosh, after all this talk of murder and mayhem and missing people, let's, let's, uh, lighten the load a little bit, Russ, uh, I think it is time for
The dumb criminal of the week.
Russ, what do you got for us this week?
Man? I have a good one for us this week. Uh, this is a news to you. Colin, I'll give you, um, one guess as to what state this guy from and this
And, and I'm gonna say, um, I want the state and then why Florida?
Um, I'm gonna hazard gas and say Arkansas. Darn. Okay. Tell us what happened in Florida this time. All right.
What we have is a, a Palm beach county man. He was working at a water station. He was on a construction crew there. He was not having the best day. He did not want to stay at work.
I can identify with that.
Me too. And so rather than saying, uh, boss foreman, I'm not feeling well. I maybe have a little Fe, I, I might have the COVID
Instead of saying that, what he did is he called 9 1, 1 and called in a bomb threat to the water plant. He was working on, oh boy, the water plant was evacuated. Everyone was taken out of it. They interviewed all of the people there. And upon interview, he initially said that he had lost his phone because I think they had a phone tracked to his number. Oh,
He called his own phone.
He called with his own phone. Um, and then after being advised of his rights, he came clean and said, there's an bomb. I made the threats after having a bad day and I wanted to get out of work.
Uh, so I, it sounds like he probably did get out of work by, uh, probably getting fired and charged with, uh, at least one crime Russ. I'm guessing he
Got out of work in handcuffs. He is charged with making a bomb threat. He is out on a $10,000 bomb.
Sounds to me like his plan worked.
I mean, I'm not sure if he thought it through enough to see where
Was going for work. He probably wanted to go home and go to bed. Yes, sir. So that being the case, that is, that is what we have this week. Um, it is just, I mean, not the most complex mastermind scheme.
No, clearly not, but,
But one that I think makes our list.
Yeah. Uh, okay. So we need to rate this guy, right? Do,
Yeah. You're up. How many knuckles heads does this fell get? Oh, and actually, let me, let me just make sure everyone knows his name. His name is Richard. Oh, I don't know his last name. I'm sorry. I don't get to shame you. Oh,
It's Richard. Uh, well, you know, I feel like I've been handing out knuckleheads, uh, like candy lately. Um, you know, for our listeners benefit, uh, one outta five is the knucklehead scale, five being the most stupid, uh, knucklehead you could possibly be in the situation. I'm gonna give him three on this one. Um, you know, I, I, I like his plan in the general, like,
You know, like, like, well, I, I appreciate a man who's willing to act on his ambitions and try and get out of a, you know, get outta work who, who can't identify with that. Right. Um, and to his credit, he did succeed. I mean, it seems like he definitely did not have to work that day. So his objective was accomplished. Uh, but yeah, it's all downhill from there. I mean, calling, uh, calling the police on, on, on your landline. Yeah. They're gonna track that. They're gonna know who called, um, there's really no such thing as an anonymous phone call. Uh, there's no more payphone anymore, so yeah. Bad idea. Gene's there. And you know, let's talk about just come up with a different thing. Not a bomb threat, don't scare them, but Jesus, not people. And who wants to bomb a water plant, by the way,
I, I give him no credit for achieving his, uh, goal. That was not his goal, his goal, unless, I mean, who knows may, maybe he's just, you know, self-destructive like that, but, um, I give him no credit for actually getting out of work. I, I I'm sorry. Harsh, harsh. Yeah. No credit for that. I give you no credit for using your own phone and saying that it was lost and then moments later admitting to the whole thing. Like if you're gonna confess, confess upfront, I, I give him five. I think this is one of the that I've seen. Uh, we're all a little stupider for having heard
This. I, I can't argue with anything you just said. So, um, all right, well, uh, that's gonna wrap up another, is this legal as always, you can find us at is this legal pod on Twitter. We have a Facebook account Hebets, McCallin, uh, shoot us a note. Tell us what you think of this Barry Morphew case is, uh, should, you know, should a judge find probable cause? Should he toss the case out? Should he, is this guy gonna get convicted at trial? We wanna know what you think. Let us know. Um, in the meantime, keep it legal.
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