ANDERSON — The judge in the murder case of former Alexandria resident Barry Morphew has recused himself from the case.
Judge Patrick Murphy removed himself after Morphew’s Colorado attorneys contended there was a conflict of interest.
Morphew is charged with the murder of his wife, Suzanne, whose body has not been found after she was last seen on May 10, 2020. She is presumed dead, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.
Suzanne Murphew, who grew up in Madison County, was reported missing by a neighbor on Mother’s Day. The 49-year-old mother of two daughters was reported missing after she did not return from a bike ride near her home in the Salida area.
Morphew’s defense attorney requested Judge Murphy remove himself from the case because of a relationship with the law firm representing Morphew’s girlfriend, Shoshana Darke.
Darke faces one count of second-degree criminal trespass after trespassing at the Morphews’ former residence and removing a package.
Morphew’s attorneys contended that since Darke might be a witness in the murder trial that Judge Murphy recuse himself from the case.
The Colorado Supreme Court appointed Judge Ramsey Lama to preside over Morphew’s case on Jan. 5.
In his opinion recusing himself from the case, Judge Murphy wrote that he would have to disqualify himself if the attorney he has a relationship was representing Morphew.
He said that the law firm representing Darke could be involved in the case and the court have to rule on issues with her testimony Murphy recused himself.
In September, Murphy found probable cause that Morphew might have murdered his wife and that he may have had motivation to do so.
In addition to the first-degree murder charge Morphew is charged with the following counts: Tampering with a deceased human body; tampering with physical evidence; possession of a dangerous weapon; and attempt to influence a public official.
The trial was set for May 3.