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Patrick Frazee murder trial: Family, police describe suspicions after Kelsey Berreth’s disappearance

Second day of trial begins Monday morning
Posted: 1:40 PM, Nov 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-14 11:07:43-05
Frazee day 2.jpg
Patrick Frazee formal charges hearing

CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — More details on the events surrounding the disappearance and alleged murder of 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth of Woodland Park came to light Monday as family, police and her manager took to the witness stand.

The trial for 33-year-old Patrick Frazee of Florissant, who’s accused of murdering Berreth, his 29-year-old fiancée, on Thanksgiving Day 2018, continued into its second day Monday.

Frazee is also accused of soliciting Idaho resident Krystal Lee Kenney, whom he had dated, to help him carry out the murder.

He faces eight charges, including first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body and solicitation. While he pleaded not guilty to the charges, Kenney took a plea deal, pleading guilty to a tampering charge and agreeing to testify at Frazee's trial. It’s not clear when she will testify, but prosecutors presented her as a key witness.

On Friday, Nov. 1 (the first day of the trial), a jury was seated and the prosecutors brought forward their first witness — Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey’s mother.

READ MORE: Timeline of events leading up to, after Kelsey Berreth's death

Continuing testimony of Kelsey Berreth’s mother

Cheryl took to the stand once again Monday morning. After opening statements on Friday, prosecutors had called Cheryl as their first witness. That afternoon, she detailed her relationship with her daughter and the events that unfolded as she grew more worried that Kelsey wasn’t answering her calls.

READ MORE: Prosecutor calls Patrick Frazee 'calculated manipulator,' but defense says 'facts don't make sense' on first day of trial

Lead Prosecutor Jennifer Viehman picked up Monday morning where she had left off — with Cheryl, who lives in Washington, looking for clues of her daughter’s whereabouts in Kelsey’s condo in Woodland Park.

In court on Friday, Cheryl said she had asked Frazee if he knew of her whereabouts on Dec. 2 and he told her they had broken up because Kelsey wanted her own space, which surprised Cheryl because her daughter hadn’t mentioned this. She asked him to check her condo and said he had to visit his cows, but would go over afterward, though “she wouldn’t want to see him,” she told the court on Friday. She didn’t get confirmation if he did that, she said Monday morning.

The following day, Cheryl and Kelsey’s brother flew from Washington to Colorado. That day, Cheryl asked if Frazee had gone looking for Kelsey and he said he hadn’t. This was the last time they spoke, she said in court Monday.

Cheryl and her husband arrived at their daughter’s Woodland Park condo late on Dec. 3 and couldn’t see any obvious clues in the darkness, so they returned the following morning.

That day — Dec. 4 — Cheryl said she noticed several things were awry in the apartment:
· The thermostat was set to about 72 degrees, which was unusually warm. Kelsey would normally turn it down when she leaves the apartment
· The garbage seemed full and had not been taken out. The garbage cans were not in their normal spot.
· Film from cleaning supplies was in several places in the apartment, including the TV, loveseat and stove, among other locations

As she walked around the apartment, she put a photo of Kelsey and Frazee face-down, Cheryl said.

In the days afterward, the community held a candlelight vigil for Kelsey. Cheryl said Frazee did not attend. In addition, she said she never saw that he posted anything on social media asking for help finding Kelsey.

During the cross-examination, Ashley Fridovich Porter, one of Frazee's attorneys, asked for more information on Kelsey’s childhood and employment in Colorado.

Cheryl had previously stated how close she was with her daughter and when asked if there was anything her daughter had kept from her, Cheryl said there was only one instance, but did not elaborate.

Porter also mentioned how the last text Cheryl received from Berreth’s phone was from Nov. 24, which read that Kelsey would call the following day. That call never came and Cheryl did not reach out again until a week later, Porter said.

Frazee and Kelsey never lived together during their relationship. Kelsey stayed in Woodland Park while Frazee stayed on a ranch in Florissant with his mother, where he could take care of her and his animals, Porter said. Both Porter and Cheryl agreed that it was fair to assume Frazee and his mother did not get along.

On the morning of Thanksgiving day (Nov. 22) — the day of the alleged murder — Kelsey hadn’t gone to bed until 4 a.m. because she had been helping Frazee check cattle and get medicine for him, Cheryl said.

Cheryl confirmed that during their phone conversations that morning, she knew Kelsey wanted to create a backup plan for dinner and wanted to get her gun back — though it wasn’t clear why it wasn’t in her possession — because she didn’t feel safe running without it, Cheryl said. Cheryl noted the structure of the text seemed odd. It had lots of punctuation marks and exclamation points, which Kelsey typically didn’t use.

When asked about their finances, Cheryl said she was under the impression that it was cheaper for Kelsey to live in Woodland Park and Frazee to rent the apartment than for him to travel to see her in Washington. Declining cattle prices were to blame, she said.

Knowing the couple had this hardship, Cheryl told Kelsey she would help them buy a ranch, but Frazee worried about family perception if he couldn’t make a payment.

They also struggled when Kelsey was offered a pilot job in Grand Junction. Frazee didn’t want her to leave, but also wanted her to have a job, Cheryl said. She said she remembers telling Kelsey she could use those flying hours to land a better job and that she could still go home to see Frazee on the weekends.

The jury did not have any questions following Cheryl’s testimony and she was dismissed.

Kelsey Berreth’s brother recalls finding blood on toilet

Prosecuting attorney Beth Reed called the next witness — Clint Berreth — to the stand. Clint is Kelsey’s older brother by two years.

In November 2018, he was living in Tacoma, Washington. When asked, he said he believed the last time he spoke to his sister was early November, but they had texted the week of Thanksgiving. They had exchanged ideas about when each would visit the other and their Christmas plans.

Kelsey had told him during a conversation on Oct. 31, 2018 that Erin Frazee, Patrick Frazee’s sister, had a lawyer that had contacted her looking for dirt on Patrick. From what Kelsey had told him, Clint said he understood there was a fight over Frazee’s father’s assets. Their father had died around that time.

With the holidays nearing, Clint decided to buy Kaylee, Kelsey and Frazee’s daughter who was 1 year old at the time, an ornament. He ordered one to be delivered to Kelsey’s apartment the week after Thanksgiving. Around the holiday, he texted his sister multiple times, but never got a reply, he said. When Cheryl called on Dec. 2 to ask if he had heard from Kelsey, he said he hadn’t. Clint started to choke up in the courtroom as he said he initially thought she may have been mad at him for canceling Christmas plans, but then worried something bigger may be at play, he said. He suggested they call police, which Cheryl did.

READ MORE: Affidavit details what happened in days leading up to, after Kelsey Berreth’s death

Both Cheryl and Clint flew to Colorado and drove to Kelsey’s condo in Woodland Park, he said. Cheryl had a key to the condo and they went inside.

Like Cheryl's testimony, Clint mentioned that the apartment was very warm. He noticed cinnamon rolls on the stove that were uncovered and hard. On Friday in court, Cheryl had said Kelsey was making cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving morning. Clint told the court that her laundry hadn’t been done and her dirty work uniforms were still on the floor, which was unusual for her.

When Clint went into her bathroom, he saw that her toothbrush, makeup and hair items were all still there. He noticed a dirty broom on her bed, he said. He couldn’t find car keys, but found her luggage in the loft. They both stayed in the apartment that night.

The following day, they went to the Woodland Park Police Department, where they talked with police for about 12 hours, he said.

On Dec. 6, Clint was using the restroom in Kelsey's condo when he noticed blood under the bowl of the toilet. He told his mother and the police. After this, police asked them to leave the condo, Clint said. They were not allowed back in.

Police asked if Cheryl or Clint had used any cleaning supplies while they stayed in Kelsey’s condo. They hadn’t — only dish soap to clean dishes.

The defense did not cross-examine Clint.

Neighbor doesn’t recall hearing disturbance

The third witness prosecutors called to the stand Monday was Angela Gerber, an elderly woman who lived next door to Kelsey. Their condos share a wall.

Gerber said she met her on the day Kelsey moved in. At one point, she gave Kelsey a baby gate.

Gerber said she was in Utah for Thanksgiving and returned home the following Tuesday. She said she hadn’t heard of anything unusual until a police officer knocked on her door 10 days after the holiday and asked if she had seen Kelsey. She said she had not.

Several other conversations with police followed. Gerber said she remembers telling police that most of the time she saw Frazee at the condo was on weekends, with a few appearances during the week.

During the cross-examination, Porter asked Gerber if Kelsey and Frazee were quiet. Gerber said they were — she never heard a fight or disturbance from the unit. She added that Kaylee must have been the “best baby” because she wasn’t loud, but noted there are sound barriers between the apartments.

The prosecution then brought up a fraud analyst for Safeway, who confirmed Kelsey had visited a Safeway the morning of Thanksgiving. She was dismissed with cross-examination.

Kelsey Berreth’s manager describes texts from Thanksgiving Day

Prosecutors then called upon Raymond Siebring, who works at Doss Aviation, where Kelsey had been working when she went missing. The company is owned by L3 Harris.

Siebring worked as Kelsey’s assistant flight director. He was first assigned to work with her in July 2018. She was “incredibly diligent” in her work, he said, and even though the process was meant to be stressful, she handled it well.

On days where she thought she’d miss work, she always notified him, he said. She’d typically enter PTO ahead of time in the company’s system, but there were some circumstances where employees were sick, so they’d call or text to let supervisors know. It wasn’t uncommon for Kelsey to text in sick, he said. He noted she would then call the scheduling department to let them know.

The state pulled up a screenshot of the texts between Siebring and Kelsey, which started in Ocober 2018 and went until Nov. 30, 2018. Siebring said he freely offered this information to the police and CBI when they asked about it.

They exchanged texts on Nov. 20, when Kelsey said she convinced Frazee to go to the company’s holiday party with her. Siebring replied, saying that was great news because he wanted to get to know him.

On Thanksgiving, Siebring sent a text to everybody he worked alongside wishing them a happy Thanksgiving. He said Kelsey’s reply, which came late in the day, read: “Hi Ray, it was a great day... Happy Thanksgiving to you too.” He said it was odd that she used a comma after his name instead of an exclamation point. He also noted she often used smiley faces in her texts, but didn’t in this message.

The next text from Kelsey — which was received at 5:06 p.m. on Nov. 25 — also lacked exclamation points or smiley faces. It read, “Hi Ray, sorry for the late notice but I won’t be able to make it in this week. I need to go see my grandma who is sick...”

Prosecutor Viehman asked if Kelsey had ever asked for time off in this manner and Siebring said no. But he noted that it sounded urgent, so he just thanked her for letting him know. He did not receive another text after that, though he reached out multiple times with questions regarding work. She never contacted their scheduling department, which was unusual, he said.

Kelsey didn’t go into work on Dec. 3, when she was expected back. Siebring said police contacted him that day asking about her whereabouts.

In Siebring’s cross-examination, Porter first asked about the texts from Thanksgiving. Siebring said he didn’t notice the lack of exclamation points or emojis at the time, but made note of it after she had been missing for more time.

Porter compared texts from Nov. 20 and Nov. 22 — they had similar punctuation.

Police recall start of missing person investigation

After Siebring left the stand, prosecutor Reed called another witness — Woodland Park Police Department Cpl. Dena Currin. She has worked for the department for 14 years as a patrol officer.

Currin said she took the initial call from Cheryl on Dec. 2 asking for a welfare check. Currin went to Kelsey’s residence, but nobody answered. She noticed a package by the door addressed to Kaylee Frazee. According to Clint’s testimony, this may have been the ornament he was sending to Kaylee.

Currin called Kelsey’s number, and then tried Frazee at 1:50 p.m. She knew from Cheryl that they were dating. She recorded the 15-minute conversation with Frazee on her body camera.

When Currin inquired when Frazee last spoke to Kelsey, he said it was the previous Sunday, Nov. 24. He explained that they had talked about how their relationship wasn’t working and the stress of work was starting to get to her more. He said he returned her car, house keys and gun to her.

In the recorded call, Frazee told Currin he was going to give her space for her to figure out what she wanted to do, and if she wanted to find a place in Washington, Idaho or Pueblo. During the call, he mentioned that Kelsey had been to rehab for depression and alcohol abuse.

Frazee told Currin he received a text on Nov. 29 that Berreth’s phone had expired.

In court, Currin said she noticed the lack of concern during the phone call. When Reed asked if Frazee ever asked about Kelsey’s welfare, she said no.

After trying Kelsey’s phone again, Currin called Doss Aviation, where she learned that Kelsey had said via text that she would be out for the week to see her grandmother.

After this, Currin and a police sergeant (who was interviewed following her testimony) went to Kelsey’s condo to see if they could find any clues of her whereabouts. She said she didn’t see anything unusual and didn’t notice the warm temperature or any blood spots. She said she saw the cinnamon rolls on the stove and both of Kelsey’s vehicles in the driveway.

When Currin returned to the police department, she called Cheryl to let her know they had started the investigation, but didn’t have any leads yet.

During the cross-examination, Frazee’s primary attorney Adam Stiegerwald asked about when Currin first arrived at Kelsey’s condo. Currin said they entered the condo around 3:45 p.m. They weren’t going through the home with a fine-toothed comb — they were just looking for Kelsey, Currin said.

She confirmed that she met with a few of Kelsey’s neighbors that day as well.

Investigators, bank manager interviewed after lunch

After lunch, the state called several officers who investigated the case, as well as a credit union manager who had what she called a suspicious interaction with Frazee after Berreth went missing.

Woodland Park Police Sgt. Andrew Leibbrand, who was one of the first people to go to Berreth’s townhome after she was reporting missing, talked about how he used a lock bypass tool to open the front door to her home and said he did not notice any signs of a struggle, though investigators were not looking for that at that point, he said.

Stiegerwald asked about the initial search of her home, who was present, and what investigators saw inside. Leibbrand said that investigators were inside for about five minutes and that they did not go through everything. He also discussed both with prosecutors and the defense the search of the Frazee ranch as both sides worked to establish timelines for the searches and what investigators knew.

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May asked Woodland Park Police Det. Michael McDaniel about the many photos taken during warrant services on Berreth’s townhome and vehicle. May said that the photos showed that the vehicles at Berreth’s home hadn’t moved since it last snowed, which he said was significant to note because someone who was missing would not have taken their own vehicle.

READ MORE: All Denver7 coverage on the killing of Kelsey Berreth, trial of Patrick Frazee

McDaniel pointed out that a photo taken Dec. 3 showed a box of trash bags in a closet and talked about other items — like a heated candle and days-old cinnamon rolls — that made him suspicious. He was asked by the defense about his process for disappearances and ran through a mental checklist.

Upon cross-examination, McDaniel said officers were at Berreth’s townhome on Dec. 3, 4 and 6 and told Stiegerwald that a cadaver dog hit on the bumper of Berreth’s car.

When prosecutors got to redirect questioning of McDaniel, he testified that when officers see no sign of a break-in at a home, they typically turn their focus on someone known to the victim or missing person. He also said that investigators did not know for sure that Berreth’s home was an alleged murder scene until Dec. 21, which he said was why the scene was so different between the early investigation and later facets of it.

Credit union manager says she had suspicious interaction with Frazee

Patricia Key, the manager of a credit union in Woodland Park, then testified about her interactions with Frazee days after Berreth went missing. She said he used an ATM there on Nov. 22, the day Berreth was allegedly killed, and then came into the credit union on Dec. 5.

Key said that the last transaction on Berreth’s account was at Safeway on Nov. 22 and that Woodland Park police had contacted her to investigate the accounts on Dec. 5.

She said Frazee also came into the credit union on Dec. 5 and asked if she could give him surveillance photos of him visiting the ATM on Nov. 22. Key testified that Frazee had told her he needed a timeline of his events on Nov. 22 because his fiancée had broken up with him the day before and they were going to discuss the custody of their child.

She said she found that to be weird, but gave him a surveillance photo showing his vehicle and noted in court that Frazee didn’t ask for any further transaction history, photos or video beyond Nov. 22.

Key said she helped Frazee because she was trying to be empathetic toward his situation but grew suspicious of the timeline he was giving her. After the conversation, she said she contacted her legal team and police and wrote down notes. She testified Monday that she thought it was peculiar that Frazee didn’t seem concerned for Berreth or their daughter’s well-being.

Teller County Sheriff’s deputy Chris Paulsen, who works on an FBI task force, testified about the meeting he had with Frazee and a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent on Dec. 4 at a restaurant in Colorado Springs and said that the agent asked for Frazee’s cell phone.

The court went into recess just after 3 p.m.

Verizon employee: Frazee was paranoid, visibly shaken during visit to store

After recess, the state called David Felis — an employee who works for the Woodland Park Verizon store — to the stand.

Reed asked him about a specific date in December — Tuesday, Dec. 11. Felis tells Reed he was aware of the case through local news articles, but mentioned he didn't know Frazee visited the store on Dec. 4. He said Frazee came to the store in the late afternoon or early evening of Dec. 11 and had Kaylee with him.

Felis said Frazee seemed very nervous, paranoid and sketchy when he came in to the store that day and could feel something was off, though he didn't know who Frazee was at the time. At one point, Frazee said, "Don't believe what they're saying about me," Felis said.

During his visit to the Verizon store, Felis said Frazee was concerned about people having access to his phone account, and asked whether someone could still get information from a destroyed cell phone in the account. This line of questioning raised red flags for Felis.

Frazee, who was concerned because he wanted to change the PIN code to his cell phone account, never told Felis what happened to the other phone, Felis said. Felis then explained to Frazee he had to contact Verizon corporate as he wasn't allowed to go into an account without the PIN code.

When Felis notified Frazee of this, he says Frazee became visibly shaken, upset and nervous over having to contact corporate to make the PIN code change. Ultimately, Felis said, corporate could not help either.

Frazee told Felis the purpose of trying to get access to the account was for security purposes as well as to see if he could get information off the destroyed device.

In court, Felis said Frazee's last name sounded familiar, so he called police and sat for an interview with investigators the next day. He said he also emailed police about what had happened with Frazee at the store.

During cross-examination, Porter, one of Frazee's attorneys, asked for clarity on the timeline of events.

Felis said he thought he either sent the email to police the night Frazee came to the store or the next day. He further clarified Frazee was in the store around 4 p.m. and that the email to police was sent at around 6:30 p.m. that day. The next day, Felis interviewed with a DA's office investigator.

Porter then asked if his email was based on memory of the conversation. Felis said yes, as they are not allowed to record conversations with customers. She also asked him about his knowledge of the case. Felis said he only knew it was important.

He also told Porter there was a moment during his encounter with Frazee in which Frazee tried to get him to go outside and chat. Felis did not do so, and shortly after, Frazee left the store.

Porter then brought up a comment Frazee made to Felis, in which he told him not to believe everything that was being said about him. Felis said he's accustomed to grief and anger from customers, but what Frazee displayed that day was unlike anything he'd ever seen.

Porter then accused Felis of not introducing all of this extra information (his demeanors, words, etc.) in his first email to police. He said the conversation with Frazee happened toward the end of his shift, and that he just wanted to write a brief email and expected a follow-up.

Reed then confirmed Felis hadn't read any reports on the Frazee case before testifying on Monday, and that he was going strictly off memory. She also confirmed Felis was most concerned about the comment Frazee made wanting to lock down his account.

Berreth's next door neighbor takes the stand

District Attorney May then called Leslie Jackson, another one of Kelsey's next door neighbors. Jackson's fence is next to Berreth's door. One of Jackson's three cameras included Berreth's front door.

Jackson, who has lived at her home since July 30, 2018, said she saw Kelsey coming and going and that she never met Frazee, but knew who he was, and mentioned she saw someone of his stature at the house every now and then.

She also detailed her three-camera set-up: The first points out to her driveway, the second looks right at her front door and the third looks at her bedroom window. She said the community likes the privacy of their neighborhood.

She said she bought the cameras, which are sound and motion-activated, because she caught someone stalking her. She also mentioned the cameras are connected to an app that allows her to see all three cameras live, and has the ability to choose to view what the cameras recorded on any single day.

Jackson told May that as far as she could tell, the cameras photograph Kelsey every time she leaves her home. May then commented how a digital expert — an investigator with the Fourth Judicial District Attorney's Office — who went to the home was not always picked up by her cameras as he walked by Kelsey's door.

Frazee’s primary attorney, Adam Stiegerwald, was then called for the cross-examination.

Jackson mentioned she wasn't home much of Nov. 22, 2018, but she did check the cameras often on that day due to her heightened awareness of the case.

Stiegerwald then asked if she saw any suspicious activity outside of Kelsey's condo, to which Jackson says "no." Jackson said she looked for a particular individual and didn’t see that person, so she didn’t call police.

Stiegerwald asked if she saw someone with blood on them, would she call police? She said "yes," of course she would.

She then mentioned how her camera went off more than it normally does on the afternoon of Nov. 22, while she was away from home. She mentioned her phone kept buzzing on the table at her mother's house. It alerted her to movement more than six or seven times more than usual per day.

Digital expert goes through evidence obtained from Jackson's cell phone

After Jackson's testimony, the state called Chad Mininger, who has worked as an investigator with the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office for 14 years. Mininger is the digital expert whom May talked about in Jackson's previous testimony.

Mininger told the court that his office obtained a grant to use Cellebrite technology, which extracts information from drones, cell phones and other type of digital tech in a speedy manner, and mentioned he's worked on a total of 248 cases from 2009 until now using this digital extraction technology.

On Monday, Mininger presented a PowerPoint of surveillance footage data he compiled from Jackson's cell phone, which she had previously gave to him.

Using Google Earth, Mininger demonstrated an overall aerial view of Kelsey's condo and noted that on Nov. 21, Jackson's bedroom camera sent four notifications indicating some type of activity was going on. A day later, however, Jackson's bedroom camera recorded 27 instances of movement. He said many of the notifications came around before noon, around noon and around 1:20 p.m., then again between 4:20 and 4:30 p.m.

Mininger stated Jackson's bedroom camera notified her three times on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24. On Nov. 24, it sent her two notifications around 12:34 p.m., he said.

Using Cellebrite technology, Mininger was able to extract 34 cached file images from Nov. 22 and 27 of those came from the bedroom camera. Of those 27, the camera caught Frazee 11 different times.

During his testimony, Mininger showed a photo appearing to show Kelsey entering her home with a baby carrier at 3:54 a.m. on Nov. 22, which aligns with her getting home. Another photo that day at 11:56 a.m. showed Kelsey at her door. About 40 minutes later, at around 12:36 p.m., a different photo showed Frazee looking to enter her condo. Mininger said that’s the first capture of Frazee from those cameras on that day.

He continued showing photos of that day that either captured Kelsey, Frazee, as well as Kaylee before court adjourned for the day.

Live tweeting and live reporting are not allowed in the courtroom, per a court decorum. The trial is expected to last three weeks.