Complaints filed against two more prosecutors in Barry Morphew case

Posted at 12:45 PM, February 26, 2024

DENVER (Scripps News Denver) — Two more prosecutors in the case against Barry Morphew, who was once charged in death of his wife, are being accused of conspiring to discredit the judge who was overseeing the now-dismissed trial.

Disciplinary complaints filed by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel (OARC) on Friday accuse Robert Wiener, the former deputy attorney general for the 1st Judicial District, and Mark Hurlbert, the deputy attorney general for the 11th Judicial District, of misconduct and abuse of power during the initial prosecution of Barry Morphew in 2022.

booking photo of Barry Morphew (left), photo of Suzanne Morphew (right)

This combination photo shows Barry Morphew’s May 5, 2021, booking photo (L) and missing Colorado woman Suzanne Morphew (R). Barry has been arrested and charged in his missing wife’s murder. (Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office)

The complaints allege the prosecutors withheld evidence, violated court orders and attempted to have Judge Ramsey Lama recused from the case for what prosecutors perceived as a bias from Judge Lama against the team.

In the complaint, the OARC alleges Wiener, Hurlbert and Linda Stanley, the district attorney for the 11th Judicial District, felt that Judge Lama “hated them” and conspired to get him removed after learning about Lama’s ex-wife’s work as anti-domestic violence advocate.

The complaint alleges the team failed to stop Stanley from pursuing an investigation into Judge Lama’s relationship with his ex-wife based on her advocacy work and enlisted its own investigator. They later discovered after talking to her that there were no instances of domestic violence in their relationship.

Provided as evidence in the complaints are screenshots of a text conversation between the three. Stanley starts the conversation with, “You guys might want to read this,” referring to an attached petition, which was created by a YouTube influencer, to have the judge removed. They discuss “pulling” the judge’s divorce case to possibly glean more information they could use against the Lama, the complaint alleges.

Stanley is facing similar complaints by the OARC. The complaint, which was filed in October 2023, alleges she also violated the state’s professional code of conduct in her interactions with a YouTube influencer before, during and after Morphew’s prosecution.

Hurlbert denied the allegations and told Scripps News Denver that he “will be filing a public response.” Both Hurlbert and Wiener have 28 days to file a response to the complaint.

investigators search Colorado

Authorities from Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), along with the Chaffee County and Saguache County sheriff’s offices, conducted an hours-long search  in a remote area of Saguache County near Moffat that was connected to the investigation into Suzanne Morphew’s death. (Scripps News Denver)

Barry Morphew was arrested and charged in Chaffee County with the first-degree murder of his wife Suzanne Morphew on May 5, 2021. His Fremont County trial was dismissed on April 19, 2022, without prejudice, meaning he could be tried again if prosecutors refile the charges.

Suzanne Morphew disappeared from her Chaffee County home on Mother’s Day 2020. Prosecutors argued that Barry discovered his wife was having an affair, then killed her, disposed of her body, and staged a bike crash in a rural area.

On Sept. 27, 2023, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) announced that the remains of Suzanne Morphew were found in Saguache County. CBI said the remains were discovered during a search of the area in connection with an unrelated investigation on Sept. 22 around the Town of Moffat.

In its complaint, the board asked for the prosecutors to face punishment up to and including disbarment. Stanley’s trial is set for June 2024, according to Denver’s Eytan Law firm, which is representing Barry Morphew.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Denver, an E.W. Scripps Company.