A Colorado judge has ruled that police and prosecutors have enough evidence to bring Patrick Frazee to trial for the presumed murder of Kelsey Berreth, his ex-fiancee and the mother of his child. Berreth, 29, was reported missing by her mother on December 2nd, but hasn’t been seen or heard from since Thanksgiving Day. Investigators have not recovered a body, but court documents released after Frazee’s arrest in December indicated that prosecutors believe the Woodland Park mother was killed that day. At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, testimony from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation revealed the gruesome details of Berreth’s alleged murder — according to Frazee’s lover, an Idaho nurse who admitted to police that she helped dispose of Berreth’s body.
After Berreth was reported missing in early December, Frazee told police he saw his ex on Thanksgiving afternoon, when he picked up their one-year-old daughter, and last heard from her when she texted him three days later, on November 25th. But according to Teller County prosecutors, Thanksgiving night, Berreth’s cell phone pinged several cell towers in the vicinity of Frazee’s ranch in Florissant. The phone’s last activity was on November 25th, but it pinged a tower in Gooding, Idaho, more than 700 miles away. Frazee was arrested on December 21st and charged 10 days later “with two counts of murder in the first degree and three counts of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree,” the first indication that prosecutors believed someone else was involved.
According to NBC News, unsealed charging documents revealed that Frazee allegedly tried “to find someone to kill his fiancée three times between September and November,” and in early January, reports surfaced that an Idaho nurse named Krystal Lee Kenney was being investigated in connection with Berreth’s disappearance. On February 8th, Kenney made a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to felony tampering and to testify again Frazee, her lover of nearly a year. In a prepared statement, Kenney said that she learned Frazee “had committed a homicide,” and knowing “that law enforcement would be investigating that crime,” she “moved the victim’s cellphone with the intent to impair the phone’s availability in the investigation.”
Testifying in court on Tuesday, Colorado Bureau of Investigations Agent Gregg Slater revealed just how much Kenney claimed to know about Berreth’s murder and Frazee’s involvement. According to the Denver Post’s account of Slater’s testimony, Kenney told investigators that Frazee told her that Berreth was abusive to their daughter, and then, on three separate occasions, he asked Kenney to kill Berreth “to protect the innocent.” In September 2018, Kenney said she pretended to be new to the neighborhood when she knocked on Berreth’s door and offered her a cup of her favorite Starbucks coffee drink — but said she couldn’t bring herself to poison the brew like Frazee had wanted. On two occasions in October, Kenney said Frazee asked her to beat Berreth to death — first, with a metal pipe he provided, and then with a baseball bat — and to dump her body in a dumpster; Kenney said she drove to Berreth’s home both times, but couldn’t follow through. That’s when Frazee allegedly told her, “I guess if you can’t do it, I’ll have to do it.”
According to Slater’s testimony, on November 22nd, Frazee allegedly called Kenney and said, “You need to get out here now. You got a mess to clean up.” On November 24th, Kenney packed her car with a full-body hazardous materials suit, a hair net, a box of plastic gloves, slip-on booties and bleach, and drove to Frazee’s ranch to pick up a key before proceeding to Berreth’s townhouse. The scene inside was horrific, Kenney allegedly told investigators, and it took her four hours to clean up all the blood. Anything that couldn’t be cleaned was stuffed into trash bags and tossed; a whole tooth, roots and all, went in the garbage as well.
Back at the the ranch that night, Kenney told police that she watched as Frazee put Berreth’s body in a metal trough, covered it with wood, doused it in lighter fluid, and set it on fire. She said he later told her that he scooped up Berreth’s charred remains, and either left them in a dump or threw them in a river. Kenney said that Frazee told her that his and Berreth’s daughter was in the room when the murder occurred. She is now in the custody of Berreth’s parents.
Prior to Tuesday’s hearing, Teller County prosecutors filed additional charges against Frazee, including tampering with a dead body and two sentence enhancers. Frazee will be arraigned on all the charges on April 8th, at which point he will be allowed to enter a plea, and a trial date should be set.
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