Barry Morphew, 53, was charged Thursday with forgery of a public record filed with an public official, a Class 5 felony, and an elections-mail ballot offense, an unclassified misdemeanor.
The charges are the latest to be made against Morphew, who remains in custody on a charge of first-degree murder and lesser charges in the May 10, 2020, disappearance of his wife, Suzanne Morphew.
The arrest affidavit states that Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell reported the County Clerks Office’s receipt of Suzanne Morphew’s ballot Oct. 19.
The ballot, dated Oct. 15, had been mailed in rather than dropped in a drop box.
It was scanned by the clerk’s office at 7:02 p.m. Oct. 19.
Mitchell said ballot envelopes are scanned so that voters can be notified their vote was received.
The signature on the back of the envelope is also scanned to be compared to an exemplar from the voter’s record.
The ballot in question was not signed in the space marked “Voter’s Signature Required,” but the name Barry Lee Morphew appeared on the designated line for “Witness’s Legal Name.”
A discrepancy or missing signature is flagged as challenged, as needing further research and a cure letter sent informing the voter of a missing signature or other discrepancy.
While reading the list of challenges, Mitchell noticed Suzanne Morphew’s name.
Aware of the missing person case, she called Sheriff John Spezze, who assigned the investigation to Sgt. Jesse Cortese, who interviewed Mitchell and collected evidence.
As with all other discrepancies, a cure letter was sent out for the Suzanne Morphew ballot, but a reply was never received by the clerk’s office.
Mitchell’s office also found the envelope filled out by Barry Morphew for his own ballot.
The arrest affidavit stated two FBI agents met with Morphew for an interview April 22.
When asked why he submitted a presidential election voter ballot for his missing wife, Morphew told the agents, “Just because I wanted Trump to win.”
He further stated, “I just thought I’d give him another vote. I figured all these other guys are cheating. I know she was going to vote for Trump anyway.”
When agents asked if Morphew knew it was illegal to submit someone else’s voter ballot, he replied he didn’t know someone couldn’t do that for a spouse.
Morphew is due in 11th Judicial District Court at 4 p.m. May 27 for a status conference on both cases against him.