Barry Morphew filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday against Chaffee County, prosecutors, Colorado Bureau of Investigation employees and FBI employees, a year after charges against him were dropped.
Morphew was arrested on murder and other charges in May 2021 in connection with the May 2020 disappearance of his wife, Suzanne Morphew. Those charges were dismissed in April 2022, when a judge granted a motion filed by prosecutors to dismiss the case. Charges could be refiled if new evidence is found.
Suzanne Morphew had never been found.
The 185-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court asks for $15 million in damages.
It claims the defendants engaged in actions including malicious prosecution and unlawful detention, fabrication of evidence, conspiracy, unlawful retention of property, reckless investigation and failure to supervise and train.
The lawsuit says in part, “As a result of the Defendants’ conduct Barry was charged, arrested, and prosecuted, and his property seized, for a crime he did not commit. As a result of the Defendants’ conduct Barry spent five months in jail, approximately 6 more months wearing a GPS ankle monitor with severe restrictions on his movement, and almost a year defending against the criminal charges. To this date, Barry’s property remains in the Chaffee County Sheriff Department’s possession.” The lawsuit went on to say, “Barry’s name and reputation has been irreparably tarnished in Colorado and all around the country.”
The lawsuit says Morphew suffered “loss of familial association with his two daughters and great economic losses including the loss of his home, business, savings and much more.”
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