CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — The three-week trial, including jury selection, for a man accused of murdering his 29-year-old fiancée on Thanksgiving 2018 is set to begin Monday in Cripple Creek.
Patrick Frazee, 33, faces eight charges — including first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body and solicitation — in connection to the murder of Kelsey Berreth.
Previously, prosecutors in the case said they wanted a jury pool of 250, noting that it may be difficult to seat a jury due to the publicity of the case. The defense, which had similar concerns, asked for 300, according to KOAA.
Twelve people will be picked for the jury, in addition to four alternate jurors.
Colorado judicial spokesman Rob McCallum said opening statements will begin no earlier than Friday, as they are expecting the jury selection to take several days.
The trial is expected to last three weeks. Prosecutors whittled down the number of witnesses from 255 to a significantly lower number in order to accommodate the trial, which was originally scheduled for three months, according to KOAA.
Berreth went missing on Thanksgiving and her mother reported her missing on Dec. 2, asking police for a welfare check since she had not heard from her daughter for several days.
Almost a month after her disappearance, Frazee was arrested for investigation of first-degree murder. Police also announced they no longer believed Berreth was alive. Frazee was formally charged on Dec. 31. He faces two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of solicitation, one count of tampering with a deceased body and two crime of violence sentence enhancers. On May 24, 2019, he pleaded not guilty to murdering Berreth. He will not face the death penalty.
The investigation found that he asked Krystal Lee Kenney, his past girlfriend who lives in Idaho, to help him.
Kenney was formally charged with one felony count of tampering with physical evidence. She pleaded guilty to this charge and as part of the plea deal, agreed to testify in Frazee’s trial. She won’t be sentenced until Frazee’s trial is complete.
On Feb. 20, Frazee’s arrest affidavit was released to the public. The document contained many details on how Kenney and Frazee allegedly planned to kill Berreth and dispose of her body. Frazee tried to convince Kenney to kill Berreth, but Kenney backed out each time, according to the affidavit.
According to investigators, on Thanksgiving Day 2018, Frazee blindfolded Berreth and asked her to smell a scented candle before beating her to death with a baseball bat in her home. Afterward, he called Kenney and instructed her to come to the home because she “had a mess to clean up,” according to the affidavit. He allegedly put Berreth’s body in a black plastic tote at a ranch on top of a haystack.
Kenney arrived at the home two days later and found what she described as “a horrific scene” at the residence. She told investigators it took hours to clean the apartment.
Afterward, Kenney and Frazee drove to the ranch to pick up the body and continued to Frazee’s home in Florissant, where they put the tote carrying Berreth’s body in a trough, the baseball bat and some other items and set it on fire using motor oil, gasoline and wood, according to the affidavit.
Search warrants were released to the public in March and detail how investigators were able to piece together evidence —including bloody sheets and teeth — to charge Frazee and Kenney in connection to Berreth’s death.
Frazee and Berreth had a 1-year-old together and the young girl is in Berreth’s parent’s custody. An amended complaint filed in February by Berreth’s parents’ attorney claimed that Frazee killed Berreth because he wanted full custody of their daughter.
In September, Denver7 learned that Frazee’s attorneys plan to shift the blame of Berreth’s death from him to Kenney. They plan to use the general denial defense, which requires the state to prove that Frazee is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, according to KOAA. Their efforts will focus on poking holes in the prosecutor’s case.