TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — Patrick Frazee will face a murder trial in the death of his fiancee Kelsey Berreth, a judge ruled Tuesday afternoon. This decision came after an hours-long preliminary hearing in which prosecutors unveiled grisly new details about how the Woodland Park mother was allegedly murdered and what steps Frazee and his alleged accomplice took to cover up her death.
In the front of a Teller County courtroom Tuesday morning, investigators recounted what Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, a 32-year-old Idaho woman, told them about what happened leading up to her walking into a grisly scene inside the Woodland Park apartment of Kelsey Berreth.
What may have started with tension over an alleged custody battle ended with a “horrific” scene, with “blood everywhere,” prosecutors said.
Patrick Frazee, 32, sat in a green striped jumpsuit and bulletproof vest in the front of the courtroom for his preliminary hearing Tuesday morning. The hearing revealed dozens of details pertaining to the murder investigation of Berreth.
Frazee faces a charge of first-degree murder, first-degree murder after deliberation, three counts of solicitation for first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body and two crime of violence sentence enhancers. He is accused of murdering his fiancee Berreth, 29, a mother out of Woodland Park. He was arrested Dec. 21. A civil complaint filed in mid-February alleged that a brewing custody battle was the motive for the crime.
Krystal is accused of disposing of Berreth’s phone in Idaho after the alleged murder. She pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence earlier this month and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Making plans for a murder
Kenney and Frazee were friends and had previously dated, Woodland Park Police Cmdr. Christopher Adams confirmed.
Police interviewed Kenney on Dec. 20 at the Colorado Springs Police Department, where she gave a disjointed 4 1/2-hour timeline of events, said CBI Agent Gregg Slater. She first told investigators that she came to Colorado to talk with Frazee about a horse, and claimed to have no knowledge of Berreth’s disappearance, Slater said.
A few months later, on Feb. 8, Kenney pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and told the court she had learned “Frazee had committed a homicide on approximately Nov. 22, 2018 in Teller County … [and] moved the victim’s cell phone with the intent to impair the phone’s availability in the investigation.”
In court on Tuesday, the CBI agent revealed the full, gruesome story behind the alleged murder based on interviews with Kenney.
Starting in 2006, Frazee and Kenney had a business relationship. But in March 2018, she said she visited him because that relationship had turned intimate.
She said Frazee hadn’t mentioned Berreth or their daughter until five months after the relationship began, Slater said. She also told authorities that Frazee had told her Berreth was a terrible mother, had an alcohol problem and was physically abusive to their daughter. Slater said they found no indication that the child was a victim of abuse.
Frazee said he wanted to get rid of Berreth because he was concerned she’d hurt their child, Slater said. Kenney offered up suggestions of things he could put into her coffee to harm her.
They discussed a plan where Kenney would lie about her identity and visit Berreth’s home to thank her for helping her find her dogs. No other details were available on this part of the investigation, but at the direction of Frazee, Kenney did so, she told investigators. Frazee then suggested contaminating coffee and giving it to Berreth. Kenney did purchase a coffee for Berreth and brought it to her home, possibly as a thank you, it was revealed in court. But Kenney did not contaminate the coffee, as she and Frazee had discussed.
Kenney told agents that Frazee was angry about that, but he said they would have another chance. At his direction, Kenney started to try to build a rapport with Berreth, though details around their relationship are unclear.
Kenney said on Oct. 15, she traveled back to Colorado with plans to kill Berreth again. Frazee gave her a metal pipe and instructed her to hit Berreth in the back of her head and throw her body in the trash. But Kenney didn’t follow through with this plan either and left the pipe outside Frazee’s gate.
She then returned to Berreth’s home with a bat and waited outside the home with “plans to get rid of her,” Slater said. But she once again backed out.
After that, Frazee told her that if she couldn’t do it, he’d have to do it himself.
Kenney shares details of alleged murder
On Nov. 22 around 4:30 p.m., Frazee called Kenney and told her, “You need to get here now. You’ve got a mess to clean up,” Slater said.
Kenney told investigators that she knew Frazee had killed Berreth and drove from Idaho to Colorado with a protective suit, gloves, hair net, booties and trash bags. When she walked into Berreth’s house, she described it as “horrific” with “blood everywhere.”
Kenney helped to clean up the scene and said there were bloody footprints all over the apartment. It took “three to four hours” to clean up, she said. She purposely left blood in certain areas of the house for investigators to find, she told agents.
She said she found a tooth in the living room and threw it away.
Frazee told Kenney that he used a sweater to blindfold Berreth to have her guess the smell of scented candle, Slater said. He then struck her with a bat, killing her.
After the crime, Frazee joined his family for Thanksgiving dinner before bringing a black tote with Berreth’s body out to Nash Ranch in Fremont County, Kenney said. He put the bag on the top of a stack of hay.
Two days after the alleged murder, on Nov. 24, Frazee and Kenney traveled back to the ranch. Frazee unlocked a red barn and loaded Berreth’s remains into the back of his car, she told investigators.
They both traveled back to Frazee’s home, where he burned the body with gasoline, she said. DA Dan May told ABC News that Frazee's mother, Sheila Frazee, saw the burning black tote bag.
Frazee and Kenney also burned the baseball bat and trash bags in a horse trough on his Florissant property, Slater said. Kenney told authorities that Frazee had wanted people to believe that Berreth killed herself.
Kenney told police she burned Berreth’s phone and her burner phone at her house in Idaho and disposed of what was left at her workplace.
That day, Frazee instructed Kenney to text Berreth’s supervisor about missing work and to send a text to Frazee from Berreth’s phone with the question, “Do you even love me anymore?”
Kenney told authorities that Frazee planned to drop Berreth’s remains at the dump or toss them somewhere else.
Authorities reveal suspicious cell phone activity
Frazee’s mother, Sheila, was asked to the stand in court. Her attorney appeared on her behalf and said she would evoke her Fifth Amendment right not to speak. The judge ruled in her favor.
Woodland Park Police Cmdr. Christopher Adams was the next witness. He became involved in the case on Dec. 3 after Berreth’s mother reported her daughter missing. He confirmed that Frazee was the last person to hear from her.
On Nov. 22, 2018 — Thanksgiving Day — Berreth was spotted on Safeway surveillance video at 12:27 p.m. with their 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee. Adams said she had gone to the store to pick up flowers and items to make a dip. Her car was later spotted on a store’s surveillance camera moving in the direction of her apartment.
Frazee was spotted on surveillance footage at Walmart in Woodland Park between 12:54 p.m. and 1:17 p.m. with a baby carrier, indicating that Berreth had given him physical custody earlier that day.
At 1:24 p.m., surveillance from one of Berreth’s neighbors in Woodland Park showed Frazee in front of her apartment, Adams said.
Based on phone records, Adams said the police department learned that around 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 22, both of their cell phones pinged in Divide and were traveling west from Berreth’s apartment. Later that evening, both phones hit off the same tower, indicating that the phones were together, Adams said.
That same day, phone records showed that Frazee called his mother and Kenney. Frazee was also seen on surveillance video at his bank with a baby carrier in the passenger seat and the black tote bag in the rear.
The following day, on Nov. 23, Frazee called Berreth’s phone. Both phones pinged off a tower that services Frazee’s home in Florissant. The phones pinged together at the home until Nov. 25, with several texts and calls going back and forth on Nov. 24 near Cripple Creek, which is about 30 minutes south of Florissant. Frazee also called Kenney on Nov. 24. Records showed that she visited Colorado that day because her cell phone pinged the same tower that services Berreth’s apartment. Her vehicle was spotted several times at Frazee’s home as well.
Surveillance video from that day showed Frazee and Kenney together at a Conoco gas station not far from Frazee’s home sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. Frazee was seen filling up a red faded gas can.
That same day, Berreth’s mother, Cheryl Berreth, received a text from Berreth saying she would call her the next day. That call never came.
On Nov. 25, around 4:10 a.m., Berreth’s phone pinged just outside of Grand Junction. A minute or two later, Kenney’s phone pinged off the same tower, Adams said.
That day, Frazee sent a text to Berreth. The responding text, which allegedly was typed out and sent by Kenney, read like Berreth was studying and would call him when she was finished. The two also called each other on the phones, Adams said. Frazee later received a text from Berreth’s cell phone saying something along the lines of, “Do you even love me?” he said. Adams said Berreth’s supervisor also received the text allegedly sent by Kenney posing as Berreth, saying she was going to be off of work because she was visiting her grandmother.
When told this information, Berreth’s mother said her daughter never mentioned that trip.
The last time Berreth’s phone pinged in Idaho was Nov. 25.
Police talk with Frazee about case for the first time
On Dec. 2, 2018, the Woodland Park Police Department called Frazee to talk to him about the case. Prosecutors played an audio recording of this phone call in court Tuesday morning.
As heard on the recording, Frazee told police the last time he had talked with Berreth was Nov. 25. They had talked about how their relationship was no longer working, and she said she wanted them to go their separate ways, Frazee told police. She asked for space and her personal belongings, like her car, keys and gun.
"She was sane, you know, basically,” he told police. “When I talked to her, it was basically: Everybody has bumps in the road. I wanted to respect her wishes. She just had enough of the arrangement."
The couple also texted back and forth that day, Frazee told police. He received a message a few days later that her phone number had expired.
They were never formally married, he told police. He lived in Florissant so he could care for his cattle.
He said Berreth had been spending more time in Pueblo, but that he hadn’t drawn any conclusions from that. She’d also gone to Breckenridge with somebody from church. In August, Berreth had checked herself into a rehabilitation treatment center for two weeks due to her anxiety, fatigue and depression.
“We lived such separate lives for so long,” Frazee told police during the recorded call.
He never called police to report her missing for the 10 days between Thanksgiving and when he talked with police, Adams said after the recording ended.
Investigation leads to new clues
In early December, Adams said they forced entry into Berreth’s apartment home, but didn’t find anything that looked out of place. Still, it was strange for Berreth to just leave, he said. She had left her purse and keys behind, and her phone was missing.
A few days later on Dec. 6, after receiving a tip from Berreth’s parents, they identified blood inside the apartment.
During the investigation, Berreth’s mother told Slater that Frazee had taken her daughter’s gun because the couple was arguing about finances. During one of those arguments in 2017, Berreth said, “Maybe I would be better off dead,” and pointed the gun to her head.
In court on Tuesday, Slater said when he visited Berreth’s apartment home, he saw what he suspected was blood in her bathroom. Tests confirmed that Berreth’s blood was found on the toilet, bathtub, trash can, parts of the floor and wall, vanity area, bathroom door hinges and electrical outlet. Slater said this evidence lead them to conclude she may have been killed in the bathroom. A bath mat was missing from the room.
In addition, a cadaver dog at the home alerted authorities to the back of Berreth’s car at her apartment complex.
After opposition from defense, judge rules Frazee will face trial
Frazee's defense attorneys argued to the court that many of the details investigators discussed at Tuesday's hearing were not witnessed by people and attempted to poke holes in the case prosecutors have put together so far -- including calling into question much of what Kenney told investigators in her interviews.
But Judge Scott Sells ruled shortly afterward that there was enough evidence presented Tuesday to bind Frazee over for trial on the murder and tampering charges in the case against him. An arraignment was set for April 8 at 8:30 a.m., with the judge giving Frazee's defense attorneys time to go through what they said were more than 3,300 pages of discovery evidence in the case. A motions hearing in the case is scheduled for March 4.
The judge also ruled that the arrest affidavit for Frazee would be unsealed following Tuesday's hearing -- likely on Wednesday morning. Frazee will be held without bond until trial, District Attorney Dan May said.
Frazee is expected to enter a plea in the case at his arraignment.
An affidavit was released on Wednesday morning. You can read it in full here.