More than a dozen people took the witness stand in the first week of Patrick Frazee’s murder trial, including the woman he was dating — who testified he confessed to beating his fiancée to death with a baseball bat.
The Colorado man is charged with murdering Kelsey Berreth, the mother of his toddler daughter. Berreth went missing last Thanksgiving Day, and her body has not been found.
Frazee, 33, is facing eight charges: two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of solicitation to commit murder, two counts of a crime of violence and one count of tampering with a body. He pleaded not guilty in May.
Krystal Lee Kenney, who was in a relationship with Frazee, testified last week that he told her his daughter was in “imminent danger,” according to CNN affiliate KMGH. She testified that he accused Berreth of abusing their child and said he “had to do something,” KMGH reported.
CNN has pieced together a wrap-up of Frazee’s first week of trial based on KMGH’s daily coverage.
Kenney testified that Frazee told her to give Berreth a drugged coffee so “we can end this.” Days later, he gave her a pipe and told her to hit Berreth in the head and to “make sure there wasn’t a lot of blood,” she testified. When Kenney arrived at Berreth’s home, a barking dog drove her away, she said. The next day, she testified, Frazee gave her a bat and told her to “swing away.” But she later told him she couldn’t do it.
“I just wanted to ignore the problem,” she told the court. “He’s saying his little girl is being abused. … I understand it was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t make the right decisions.”
Kenney told the court the couple’s 1-year-old daughter was in the apartment when Berreth was killed. She testified that Berreth’s last words, according to Frazee, were: “Please stop.”
No cameras are allowed inside Frazee’s trial.
Evidence doesn’t match witness claims, defense says
During last week’s hearing, Frazee’s attorneys said Kenney had many opportunities to alert police or family about Frazee’s plans.
She told the court Frazee had a kind of power over her and got her to do things even if she didn’t want to, the affiliate reported.
The two had dated on and off for more than 10 years and in 2016, she became pregnant with his child, Kenney told the court. She said that when she asked Frazee what she should do, he told her, “I guess you’re a baby killer or you’re not,” and she got an abortion. She testified that she told Frazee it was a miscarriage.
Kenney initially lied to FBI agents about whether she knew Berreth and about her disappearance. But she later told investigators Frazee told her he killed his fiancée, and she helped clean up the crime scene and get rid of the body, a criminal affidavit says.
She took a plea deal, agreeing to testify at Frazee’s trial and pleading guilty to a tampering charge, KMGH reported.
The defense team questioned the plea deal, grilling Kenney on how she was allowed to plead guilty to the tampering charge, the affiliate said, and not any other — and more severe — charges like attempted murder, for showing up to Berreth’s home with a metal pipe. And she only told the whole story after she struck the deal with prosecutors, the defense said.
On the opening day of the trial, defense attorney Ashley Fridovich Porter said much of the prosecution’s case relies on what Kenney told authorities — and that what she had said didn’t line up with the evidence.
For example, she said, Kenney said she walked into a gruesome crime scene inside Berreth’s apartment that Frazee had instructed her to clean up.
But surveillance footage captured Frazee going into Berreth’s apartment and leaving in the same outfit he had arrived in with no stains, Porter said.
‘He told me I have a mess to clean up’
Kenney testified that on November 22 — Thanksgiving Day and the day of the alleged murder — Frazee called her and sounded upset.
“He told me I have a mess to clean up,” she testified, according to the affiliate.
When she arrived in Colorado from her home in Idaho, she said he instructed her to go to Berreth’s home and wipe it down.
“There’s blood everywhere. There’s blood on the walls. There’s blood on the fireplace. There’s blood on the couch. There’s blood on items in the kitchen. Hobby Lobby bags. Children’s toys,” prosecutor Jennifer Viehman had told the court earlier.
Colorado Bureau of Investigations Agent Gregg Slater testified that authorities used a detection tool in Berreth’s apartment to check for blood. The tool is usually used in cases where the blood may have been cleaned or wiped away, the affiliate reported. He said areas in the home “glowed,” indicating the presence of blood.
Kenney testified that Frazee told her it was hard to eat Thanksgiving dinner with his family “when the mother of your child is in a tote in the back of your truck.” When the two went to the ranch he was leasing, she testified, he poured gasoline in and on top of the tote, but she didn’t look inside. It burned overnight, she said he later told her.
On Friday, Denver FBI Special Agent Donald Peterson testified that when authorities searched a burn area in Frazee’s ranch, they found what they believed to be a partial tooth. And on the same day, a K-9 handler said his bloodhound cadaver dog picked up the scent of human decomposition at the ranch. During cross-examination, the officer said he couldn’t confirm the dog’s reaction was definitely because of a decomposing body, the affiliate reported.
The prosecution also shared footage of Frazee and Kenney at a gas station, showing Frazee filling up a six-gallon gas can and putting it in the back of his truck, the affiliate reported.
But while prosecutors argue Frazee put Berreth in a tote in her apartment before putting it in his truck, a digital expert told the court the last surveillance pictures of Frazee appear to show him holding a child, but none show him carrying a large black tote, the affiliate reported.
The expert, Chad Mininger, said the last pictures appear to show a void between Frazee and the door but he couldn’t tell exactly what that was. He also said some cameras may have had distorted lenses.
The texts after her alleged death
Berreth’s mom, Cheryl Berreth, took the witness stand on the first day of the trial, according to the affiliate’s reporting. She testified that she received a text from her daughter’s phone two days after Thanksgiving, saying she would call her the next day.
When she didn’t, her mother told the court she didn’t think much of it until about a week later, when she still hadn’t heard from her daughter.
She told the court she had a “gut feeling something bad had happened” and called police on December 2.
Berreth’s boss also received a strange text message when she went missing.
Raymond Siebring, who was her supervisor at Doss Aviation, told the court Berreth was “incredibly diligent” and would always let him know what days she was planning on missing and would always put in her PTO ahead of time, he said.
On November 25, she sent him a text to let him know her grandmother was sick and she wouldn’t be at work all week.
Kenney would later testify that Frazee instructed her to take Berreth’s phone and send texts to her mother and boss and take the phone as far as she could, the affiliate reported.
“I felt like he was coaching me, when I got back, to get my mouth shut,” Kenney told the court last week.
‘I figured out a way to kill her’
Joseph Paul Moore, a friend of Frazee, testified Friday.
He told the court Frazee was an excellent cattleman, the affiliate reported, and had “so much going for him.”
“You just don’t want (to) picture somebody that you’ve known this long and trusted — you just don’t want to think that they could do something like this,” he said, according to KMGH.
Moore testified Frazee didn’t treat Berreth well, saying he yelled and cussed at her and treated her “just terribly.”
Frazee told him he didn’t know Berreth was pregnant until the day she was giving birth, the affiliate reported.
In April 2018, when Moore asked Frazee how Berreth was doing, he replied: “I figured out a way to kill her.”
“And I went, ‘Don’t even talk about things like that,'” he told the court. “He just kind of grinned and said, ‘No body, no crime right?'”
The trial will resume this week inside the Teller County, Colorado, courthouse.