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The Suzanne Morphew Murder Mystery

Elixir

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This guy never should have trusted his truck.

Barry [Morphew] faces a slew of charges, including first-degree murder, in his wife's death. Barry claims Suzanne went on a bike ride on May 10, 2020, and never returned. He posted a video online a week later pleading for her to return safely. Her body has yet to be found. Police took Barry into custody in May of 2021, almost exactly one year after his wife's disappearance.

Court reporting today

"The residence" is about 3 miles from here, and Barry was arrested less than a mile (as the crow flies) from here. Of course in this tiny town, murder mysteries are actually big news. Mrs. Elixir is following closely. Police have been very tight-lipped about what evidence they have obtained over the last year, but we now know it is sufficient to charge Barry with murder. Comes out today that wife (Suzanne) had a spy-pen planted in his truck, had been in a sporadic affair with some married guy back east, and all kinds of other sordid nonsense. The details have a lot to do with electronic communications and ...
the star witness in the prosecution's case is Barry's truck.
That damn truck done ratted him out.
Bigly.
Apparently it has/had a tremendous black box device tracking the time and place of every action performed in or around it, fully GPS tracked and timed.* Every locking and unlocking of doors, every light on and off, every stop and every go, every switch in the vehicle - plus a fucking SPY PEN stashed in it. A lot of what the truck testified to today in the preliminary hearing was apparently in direct contradiction to Barry's story. There's a video of him throwing away suspicious bulky packages somewhere on the front range (dumpster behind hotel?). The video is from a location and time his truck ratted about.
It also recorded that apparent loading of the discarded material at their residence, down to the 157 feet it back up to the door, driver exiting, opening the back, then closing the back and starting to drive toward the front range...

Barry had been internet "researching" how to murder people on bike rides, and claimed that Susanne had gone on a bike ride and then gone missing. There are stories of hotel rooms smelling of bleach, things burned and all the usual stuff the might accompany a shabbily or partially planned murder. The prosecution today played body camera footage of the deputies finding the bike. According to Walker, the bike was found sideways on a steep hill. The bike wasn't damaged, but Walker said it appeared as though the bike had been thrown over the side of the hill. He said that area wasn't near any trail and it was in rough terrain. If I recall what Mrs E told me, they found her helmet back at the pad...

Anyhow, it sure looks like this is going to trial even without a body, thanks to the facts provided by his truck.
An absolute, complete and transcendent country song, come to life.



* I had no idea vehicles could do all this shit either, so I can't really fault poor Barry for getting tripped up by a truck.
 

Keith&Co.

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* I had no idea vehicles could do all this shit either, so I can't really fault poor Barry for getting tripped up by a truck.

Damn.

Our currently-deployed weapon system can only do about HALF of that. We have the time of every button depressed and every mouse click, but no idea who done it...
 

Bronzeage

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Amazing, isn't it.

If you buy a brand new car, there's a good chance it will come with a system which can unlock your car using a satellite signal, in the event you lock your keys inside. Provided your car actually has a key, but it works the same. This service can also find your car if you forgot where you parked, or if it's not where you parked it. The black box stores all the data in case it looses the satellite signal, so it can be uploaded when the signal is reestablished. This kind of remote control and sensing system requires a lot of hardware just to perform these tasks, and that same hardware can be purposed for a lot of other stuff. How a spy pen fits into this a puzzle.

Of course a Google search term "how to kill someone on a bike ride" is oddly specific.

This is a very familiar scenario. A lot of carefully planned premeditated murders are exposed by all the manipulations of circumstances to create an alibi or cast suspicion in another direction. The more a person does to prepare for the murder, the more chances to leave a trace, or just damning evidence.

There was a local murder case near me a few years back. A man buys a house which had a green house in the back yard. The green house was torn down, but the water faucet remained. Sometime later the water pipe leaks, and when they dig up the line, a body is found. The previous owners of the house were a man and a woman. The woman had vanished without a trace. The man said she said she was leaving him and that's the last time he saw her. The case went to trial and the husband was acquitted. It has been seven years and the only evidence was a body buried in the backyard. The defense was able to present a reasonable doubt defense. The prosecution's case was pretty much summed up as "Who else could have done it?" and that wasn't enough.
 

TV and credit cards

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Unless things have changed recently, Event Data Recorders only record data leading up to an event.
His previous navigation could have been deleted by him had he the presence of mind to do so. Dupa Jaś.
I believe all this has to be accessed with his permission, unless he did so by letting his insurance record his driving in hopes of a discount. I believe they plug a recorder into the OBDII port or use a phone app.
 

Elixir

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Unless things have changed recently, Event Data Recorders only record data leading up to an event.
His previous navigation could have been deleted by him had he the presence of mind to do so. Dupa Jaś.

Barry is not noted for presence of mind. He, Suzanne, the boyfriend back east (with a wife and six kids) are all super-religious Christians...

I believe all this has to be accessed with his permission

I believe it was accessed with a warrant, part of the reason it took a year after the disappearance to file murder charges.

I believe they plug a recorder into the OBDII port or use a phone app.

The Company that bought my Company was previously specialized in forensics - mostly digital forensics. They surmise that the entire vehicle was placed into one of the super-expensive shield cages they sell, and every bit of data drained like a spider sucking the guts out of a fly.
 

Elixir

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Synopsis from yesterday, per Mrs Elixir...
The day Suzanne was reported missing (by someone else, on Mothers Day), Barry stayed in a motel on the front range where he claimed to have been working a construction job. But the city where he claimed to be working has a ban on Sunday construction work... The truck testimony and surveillance footage reveals he spent the day driving around to five or six different locations throwing away "garbage". This was the day after the truck says he backed the truck up to the door of the residence and loaded it up... the hotel room had been sprayed with bleach throughout...
Looking forward to more exciting testimony from the truck today.

I still think this whole saga should end up as the title track to a country album titled "My Truck Ratted Me Out".
 

Jimmy Higgins

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It is very sad that someone has to die because another person thinks they can get away with murder. Murdering a spouse (or ex-spouse) and getting away with it? You need to be a celebrity to manage that.
Unless things have changed recently, Event Data Recorders only record data leading up to an event.
His previous navigation could have been deleted by him had he the presence of mind to do so. Dupa Jaś.
I believe all this has to be accessed with his permission, unless he did so by letting his insurance record his driving in hopes of a discount. I believe they plug a recorder into the OBDII port or use a phone app.
If memory serves, he doesn't own the data, the car company does. I recall reading an article a while ago about that data and who should have access to it.
 

Elixir

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The Big News:
The prosecution asked for charges to be dismissed. Motion granted (by the judge who has been functioning as part of the Barry Morphew defense team). They cut off his ankle bracelet and presumably refunded the half million$ bail money.
Meanwhile, Mrs Elixir just got back from the hairdresser's, where a very good friend (do we say 'ex-friend" when the friend is presumed dead?) of Suzanne's works. She said the they [police] have found the location of the body. She said "you don't want to know" when asked how she knew that. But it turns out to be true, even though it hasn't hit the MSM yet. The location of the body is still under some five feet of snow so it's going to be a few weeks...

One big question springs to mind:
How do they know?
That's the only thing that sprang to mind when I heard about this.
And the immediate follow up question - WHERE IS "SHO-SHO"???

This woman "Shoshona" aka Sho Sho, has been a constant by Barry's side throughout this whole circus, and now she is suddenly "whereabouts unknown". Completely off the radar. Even people who know her well have no idea where she is now.
I figure she flipped on Barry. She has been suspected by many locals of having been complicit in Suzanne's murder, having been carrying on an affair with Barry since before Suzanne disappeared. So I figure she flipped, ratted Barry out and gave away the location of the body. Now she's on the lam and/or in Witness Protection mode.
Guess we'll see when they dig her up, whether there is then sufficient evidence to re-charge and arrest Barry, and maybe get a judge who isn't an associate of the defense attorney...

Aside: Mrs Elixir was in the grocery store a few days ago, in line at the Deli when Barry came up and got in line behind her. Creeped her out pretty badly... everyone around here knows he killed his wife. Mrs Elixir suddenly had better places to be than a few feet from that creep, so she left. Eeeeeuw!
 

Loren Pechtel

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There was a local murder case near me a few years back. A man buys a house which had a green house in the back yard. The green house was torn down, but the water faucet remained. Sometime later the water pipe leaks, and when they dig up the line, a body is found. The previous owners of the house were a man and a woman. The woman had vanished without a trace. The man said she said she was leaving him and that's the last time he saw her. The case went to trial and the husband was acquitted. It has been seven years and the only evidence was a body buried in the backyard. The defense was able to present a reasonable doubt defense. The prosecution's case was pretty much summed up as "Who else could have done it?" and that wasn't enough.
Reasonable doubt?

How does the body end up in their own yard, though?? Why did the jury even need to leave the box on that one?
 

Bronzeage

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There was a local murder case near me a few years back. A man buys a house which had a green house in the back yard. The green house was torn down, but the water faucet remained. Sometime later the water pipe leaks, and when they dig up the line, a body is found. The previous owners of the house were a man and a woman. The woman had vanished without a trace. The man said she said she was leaving him and that's the last time he saw her. The case went to trial and the husband was acquitted. It has been seven years and the only evidence was a body buried in the backyard. The defense was able to present a reasonable doubt defense. The prosecution's case was pretty much summed up as "Who else could have done it?" and that wasn't enough.
Reasonable doubt?

How does the body end up in their own yard, though?? Why did the jury even need to leave the box on that one?
Apparently the prosecutor thought that was enough, but with no witnesses, no weapon, and very little evidence, that was the verdict. Most domestic murder cases are closed with a confession. Many are closed because the murderer tried to create "staging", which means hiding or creating evidence to divert suspicion through false alibis and the like. In this case, the passage of time protected the man.

In a similar case, a man murdered his wife and then carried the body deep into the woods to hide it. He covered her with limbs and leaves. Wild pigs and other animals would make short work the body. His girlfriend was in her home, ready to testify he had been with her the whole time, if any questions were asked. He was arrested about four hours later, along with the girlfriend.

Two men were riding horses in the woods and thought it was strange to see a truck so far off the road. They silently watched him unload his wife's body and cover it over. It was a short trial.
 

Politesse

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Most people have no idea just how many "inanimate" objects are recording them these days. At my job, our school learning system lets us observe how students are using it with considerable detail, most of whom have no idea that, for instance, clicking away to another tab while working on an exam leaves on obvious signature. Considering the absurd excuses I bust open on the weekly, the thought of any of them attempting to plan a murder slightly amuses me, but it is dark humor.
 

Elixir

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The prosecutor has now made clear that his reason for asking the previous charges to be dismissed was that they feared an acquittal, and believe that they are going to recover the body soon. They believe the body will be and/or provide evidence that will ensure a conviction when new murder charges are filed. FWIW, everyone around here who knows Barry, knew Suzanne and is familiar with what has been going on between them, believes with considerable certainty that he murdered her.
 

bilby

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FWIW, everyone around here who knows Barry, knew Suzanne and is familiar with what has been going on between them, believes with considerable certainty that he murdered her.
A lot of murderers have walked free, because investigators and prosecutors didn't put in the considerable effort required to bridge the vast gulf between "believes with considerable certainty" and "proves beyond a reasonable doubt".

Proving something, to the satisfaction of a jury, is often made considerably harder by the fact that "it's pretty obvious" to the people who are familiar with the case. Juries are (quite rightly) inclined to seek out any possible doubt; The prosecutors need to anticipate all of those doubts, no matter how far-fetched, and show the jury why they are unreasonable.
 

Elixir

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FWIW, everyone around here who knows Barry, knew Suzanne and is familiar with what has been going on between them, believes with considerable certainty that he murdered her.
A lot of murderers have walked free, because investigators and prosecutors didn't put in the considerable effort required to bridge the vast gulf between "believes with considerable certainty" and "proves beyond a reasonable doubt".

Proving something, to the satisfaction of a jury, is often made considerably harder by the fact that "it's pretty obvious" to the people who are familiar with the case. Juries are (quite rightly) inclined to seek out any possible doubt; The prosecutors need to anticipate all of those doubts, no matter how far-fetched, and show the jury why they are unreasonable.
Yup. Add to all that ... the fact that the trial was moved because everyone here "knows" he's guilty, and the judge has shown great antipathy toward the prosecution, has granted every defense motion and denied every motion from the prosecution (until the move to dismiss), forbidden every expert witness and has had a 'relationship' with the defense attorney - it's easy to see why they didn't want to move forward right now, risking an acquittal and letting the asshole walk free. There is more than one metric shit-ton of circumstantial evidence, and it is a near certainty that if they do recover a body, it will provide all the direct evidence they need to secure a conviction in a fair trial before an impartial judge. I only wonder if Barry will flee in the meanwhile.
 
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