CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — The murder trial of Patrick Frazee, in Teller County, is moving along at a fairly fast clip, considering the slew of witnesses who have already taken the stand and those still waiting to testify.
Closing arguments could take place as soon as Friday.
Frazee is accused in the disappearance and presumed murder of Kelsey Berreth, his fiancee and the mother of his young daughter. Frazee is also accused of asking his mistress, Krytal Kenney, to murder Berreth on at least three occasions.
Stephanie Howerton with Teller County Waste was first to take the stand on Wednesday. Howerton provided a trash pick-up schedule for Berreth’s home, noting Friday is trash day, but there is no pick-up on Thanksgiving. She said no trash was put out at Berreth’s between November 21, 2018 and December 21, 2018.
Melissa Russ, who works in human resources at Doss Aviation in Pueblo, was next to testify. Russ said was involved in hiring Berreth and also helped guide her through the logistics of maternity leave, when Berreth had her daughter.
She noted after returning from maternity leave, Berreth had mentioned the possibility of working part time, but couldn’t recall why.
Next, court heard from Jennifer Barks, another Doss human resources employee, who described fielding a call from Woodland Park Police in December of last year, after Berreth was reported missing.
Barks said she called Frazee about it, because he was listed as Berreth’s emergency contact. Barks said Frazee answered and told her Berreth had given him the baby, saying she needed a break and space. He also told Barks Berreth struggled with drugs and alcohol.
Barks said she challenged him on that point, saying student pilots, who worked with Berreth one-on-one, would have been aware of any substance abuse issues. Barks said Frazee didn’t respond to that comment, but did say he shouldn’t be talking to Barks and speculated Berreth had run off to “get herself cleaned up”.
During this testimony prosecutors revealed Frazee was listed as Berreth’s beneficiary on her life insurance policy.
Next, Anissa Smith, a lifelong friend of Frazee’s took the stand. Smith said she’s known Frazee since she was eight years old, noting Frazee leased her grandparents’ land for his cattle.
Smith said Frazee had told her about his relationship with Berreth, but said he didn’t mention the couple’s daughter for a very long time. Smith said she was shocked when she found out about the little girl.
She testified Frazee told her he had full custody because Berreth had signed over her parental rights.
At this point Chris Adams was called back to the stand. He’s with the CBI now, but previously worked for the Woodland Park Police Department. He was asked Wednesday to describe the efforts made to try and find Berreth after she was reported missing.
Adams said press releases went out, the media was involved, and Berreth’s family spoke out. He also said the police looked at Berreth’s cell phone records, her social media accounts, searched her apartment, and opened tip lines.
Adams said hundreds of tips came in, up to 600 of them, some even from psychics. He said many were followed.
They also searched mine shafts, a landfill, and Frazee’s property.
Adams also mentioned tracing a gun given to Mark Pearson by Krystal Lee Kenney, and confirmed the gun was Berreth’s.
Stephanie Courtney was also recalled. Courtney, an investigator with the District Attorney, said she obtained a bucal swap (collected DNA) from Frazee and Berreth’s daughter. Courtney noted it was a difficult task to complete. She said the baby thought the swab was candy and didn’t want to let go.
Robert Hill, a flight instructor at Doss Aviation, was next to address the court. Hill described his relationship with Berreth as a close, platonic friendship. He said initially, Berreth told him she and Frazee were married, but he later learned that wasn’t true.
He recalled an incident when Berreth was stressed about her relationship with Frazee, saying she was mad at her fiancee over something concerning a realtor.
He also said Berreth never said anything about relinquishing custody of her daughter.
Hill said the little girl was well taken care of.
And he noted Berreth did not have a drinking problem.
In earlier testimony, Krystal Kenny said she brought a coffee to Berreth’s house. Kenney said she wanted to meet Berreth herself.
On Wednesday, Hill testified Berreth told him about that incident, saying she thought it was weird a stranger had brought her coffee.
Hill couldn’t recall if Berreth mentioned drinking the coffee.
Also on the stand Wednesday, Carolyn Scharf, an instructor pilot at Doss Aviation, disputed reports of Berreth having a drinking problem. She said she would have known.
Scharf said Berreth lived with her for almost six weeks while she was completing ‘new hire training’ because Berreth’s commute was so long. Scharf said Berreth and Frazee talked and saw each other regularly.
She also said Berreth mentioned Frazee didn’t treat her well.
Samples of blood found in Berreth’s toilet, baby gate, and on her floor were consistent with her DNA.
The tooth that was found on Frazee’s property did not have enough DNA to develop a profile, as the biggest tooth fragment was a fifth of an inch wide. An expert could not verify if the fragments were indeed from the same tooth, but did say it looked like they had been broken — possibly from blunt force trauma. The tooth which was sent to the FBI for further testing was destroyed in the process, but the tooth was too small to develop any DNA profile.
No human DNA was found at the site where Frazee allegedly stored Berreth’s body.
Frazee’s DNA was found in Berreth’s floorboards, but his profile was not as strong. Kenney testified that she used a lot of bleach to clean up Berreth’s apartment and that DNA samples could be destroyed.
This trial is almost over and for the first time today, the courtroom briefly heard from Patrick Frazee.
After being advised by the judge on whether or not he’d like to testify, Frazee responded nervously, but no sign if he will.
Jury deliberations are expected to start Friday, which means soon we will know if Frazee has been found guilty or not in the disappearance and murder of Berreth.
The judge is not allowing any cameras in the courtroom or live reporting during the day.