CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — After just a few hours of deliberation, a Teller County jury has found Patrick Frazee guilty on all six felony counts in the murder of his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth on Thanksgiving Day 2018. That includes two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, and one count of tampering with a deceased human body.
Members of the Berreth family held hands as the verdict was read. Frazee showed no emotion. His mother, Sheila, looked down.
The sentencing came down not long after.
And, after a trial full of difficult testimony, Judge Scott Sells became emotional today in court as he addressed Frazee directly.
“Kelsey spent her last night caring for you, you spent it beating her to death. And after you beat her, you burned her body like trash,” he said, before handing down the maximum possible punishment.
For the charge of first-degree murder, 33-year-old Frazee was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. For each of the three charges of solicitating murder, Frazee was sentenced to 48 years consecutively, for a total of 144 years. Finally, Frazee was also sentenced to 12 years consecutively, for tampering with a deceased body.
Berreth’s body has not been found, but an investigator said the search for her remains will continue.
The prosecution and defense presented closing arguments Monday morning in the trial against Frazee at the Teller County courthouse.
Krystal Lee Kenney, a nurse from Idaho and Frazee’s ex-girlfriend, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and agreed to testify against him as part of a plea deal.
“We did a deal with the devil,” May said in a press conference after sentencing.
Kenney faces up to three years in prison.
*In court, Kenney noted that she now uses the name “Krystal Lee,” however FOX21 News will refer to her as “Krystal Lee Kenney” or “Kenney”, for consistency.
Testimony wrapped up Friday without the defense calling a single witness. Frazee decided not to testify on his own behalf.
The judge started Monday morning by reading 22 instructions for the jurors. He explained to a packed courtroom what reasonable doubt is, described each crime Frazee was accused of, as well as the difference between evidence and circumstantial evidence.
The state began its closing arguments by showing a picture of Berreth to the jurors and said, “we all wish Kelsey Berreth would walk through that door right now, but we know that won’t happen.”
Prosecutor Beth Reed said Frazee was only interested in finding an alibi for one date: November 22, 2018. She said Frazee never once tried to communicate with his fiancee after he was told she was missing.
Reed said Berreth’s last days were spent planning, RSVP’ing to a work Christmas party, picking up medicine for Frazee, and groceries for Thanksgiving. The prosecutor showed Berreth’s last known receipts to show they weren’t consistent with someone who would leave her child or harm herself. She also showed Berreth’s Google searches, which showed her hunt for Thanksgiving recipes. They also looked at phone records for both Berreth and Frazee.
At one point in court, the prosecutor pointed at Frazee and declared, “that man was planning to kill her for months.”
Jurors also saw pictures grabbed from surveillance video, which showed Frazee wearing a gray t-shirt and ball cap, and a black tote in the bed of his truck.
“Her beaten and battered body is in that box, and he is going to take it to his house and keep it in his truck while he eats Thanksgiving dinner,” Reed said.
The prosecutor noted Frazee was caught 27 times on Berreth’s neighbor’s camera. Next, jurors saw a ‘to-do list’, written by Frazee, which detailed his plans for Thanksgiving day. Prosecutors then cross-checked that list with data evidence from cell phone towers.
It’s how prosecutors learned Berreth’s phone was, at one point, utilizing the same tower as Frazee’s home.
“Because he has just killed Kelsey,” Reed said.
Surveillance video also showed Frazee returning to his house, and proved the black tote had been moved.
“He has a motive,” Reed said. “He wants people to believe that Kelsey is abusing the baby and describes incidents, which none of this is corroborated”.
The court also saw a picture of stained hay. Reed said the dimensions of the black tote matched the spot. The state kept going back to phone records to show that Frazee had kept Berreth’s phone and manipulated her texts and phone calls. Then Krystal Lee Kenney’s phone came into the picture. Her phone, along with Berreth’s, began pinging the same cell phone towers.
The state also zeroed in on comments Frazee made to others in the days following Thanksgiving of last year, such as the two had broken up and were going to split custody of their young daughter. Witnesses testified Frazee said he spoke with Berreth on at least three days, but there are no records of those calls. The prosecutor said it’s how Frazee started setting up his alibi.
The prosecutor spelled out the first-degree charge for Frazee.
“That the defendant, in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged, after deliberation, and with intent, to cause the death of a person other than himself, caused the death of that person,” Reed said.
Reed said Frazee had mentioned to a friend that he had figured out how to kill her, had mentioned to Kenney that “now is the time” on November 4, and had a hired hand unknowingly help burn her body.
Kenney testified Frazee told her, “I wouldn’t do it that way again; it was inhumane,” and that Berreth’s last words were, “please stop.”
The state pointed to the blood on the fireplace, baby gate, couch, floorboards, and toilet. Reed said that there had to have been multiple blows, and that there wouldn’t be so much blood in all of the places found in Berreth’s home, “unless it was a violent assault.”
“Everything was premediated,” Reed told the jury, asking them not to consider a lesser charge. “There is no evidence that supports this, so don’t check that box or manslaughter.”
Reed said Frazee asked Kenney to kill Berreth on three occasions on September 23 with a poison coffee, October 15 or 16 with a pipe, and then October 21-22 with a bat.
“She didn’t have to come forward at all, but she did,” the prosecutor said.
The jurors saw a timeline of events as Kenney had described, along with surveillance clips that corroborated her story.
The state described to the jury definition of ‘tampering with a deceased body’.
“He disposed of it,” Reed said. “I wish I could tell you where.”
And she explained, the bottom line is – motive doesn’t matter.
“You don’t have to decide why did this happen,” she said. “You might decide that he just wanted custody, or a financial reason, or selfishness, et cetera, but there is only one person who knows why.”
Reed said Frazee has been banking on the idea that without a body, there isn’t a crime.
“The evidence comes from this witness stand,” Reed explained. “Over 300 photos, a gas can, this box and the circumstances of all of these events.”
Frazee’s defense began its closing arguments after a short recess.
“You are being asked to ignore your common sense and the direct evidence for the past two weeks and look at the circumstantial evidence of a story made up by Krystal Kenney,” Lead Attorney Adam Steigerwald said.
Frazee’s defense said the timeline of events on Thanksgiving Day was made up, and pointed out there Frazee was never seen entering or leaving Berreth’s home with a black tote in his hand.
“The timeline was created to fit Kenney’s story,” Steigerwald said.
He also mentioned one of the lead investigators made a mistake on the stand about a text and said, “if the timeline is wrong, then the entire thing comes crumbling down. It is made up.
Frazee’s defense asked the jurors why no DNA was found in his washing machine, or a single image of Kenney coming or going into Berreth’s home, or a witness from her complex.
“Priest [the blood stain expert] analyzed evidence that doesn’t exist, talking about blood splatter that you can’t see,” Steigerwald told jurors.
The defense said Kenney lied multiple times to police and questioned her credibility.
The defense also noted that Berreth and Frazee were together the night before Thanksgiving last year, in the middle of nowhere and asked: if Frazee were planning to kill Berreth, why wouldn’t he have done it then?
Steigerwald spoke about the burn pit on Frazee’s property and asked why the tooth investigators found wasn’t in the plastic tote or melted. He also questioned the cadaver dog’s “signal” (sitting down) at the haystack where a discolored patch was discovered, wondering if the dog had simply wanted to get down.
“There is no way that these dogs are 100 percent accurate,” he said.
The asked the jury to consider why Kenney’s DNA wasn’t found anywhere inside Berreth’s home, even though she had testified to spending hours there, cleaning up the crime scene.
“Not one hair,” Steigerwald said.
Also missing from Berreth’s home, the defense noted, was Frazee’s DNA.
Steigerwald said testimony about Frazee from a fellow inmate isn’t proof of murder or guilt.
“I understand how bad this all looks,” Steigerwald said. “We are asking for you to look past that and those questions there, because there is reasonable doubt that Frazee didn’t do this crime.”
District Attorney Dan May had the last word for the state. He told jurors that Berreth wouldn’t just disappear without talking to her loved ones.
“She was a co-worker who was reliable, responsible, sweet, and it doesn’t sound like someone who would just disappear,” May said. “I wish justice would bring back Berreth through those doors, but it can’t.”
May said his goal is to hold Frazee accountable for his actions.
“He took a bat and he beat her, and he beat her, and he beat her, and he beat her, at one point she said ‘please stop,’ and he beat her, and he beat her, and he beat her, and he beat her, and he beat her, and he beat her at least 10 to 15 times, according to the experts.” May said.
During the sentencing phase Kelsey Berreth’s uncle read victim impact statements to the judge to consider maximum punishment to Frazee. Multiple co-workers and family members statements were read. The judge called Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey’s mother and Clint, Kelsey’s brother to listen in and address the court before sentencing.
During the victim impact statements it was an emotional courtroom, even the judge had to pause before saying that his actions were vicious, senseless, and without reason. He added that Kelsey Berreth spent her last night caring for Frazee while he spent it beating her to death. The judge gave the absolute maximum punishment of life without parole plus 156 years.
Berreth’s family told the judge that Kelsey was a hugger. They spoke about how nothing will repair the holes in their heart. They added that Frazee chose Thanksgiving Day to execute his plan forever tainting this holiday for them. As a result the Berreth’s asked the judge for Frazee’s parental rights be revoked plus no contact from the Frazee family. The family is creating an aviation scholarship together in honor of Kelsey so she can continue to make an impact on the next generation of pilots.
“Patrick took Kelsey’s life. She was a daughter, sister, valued pilot that was teaching military how to fly. She was beautiful inside and out regardless of what Patrick told others. Her reputation has been damaged even after her death. He not only killed our daughter but chose a horrific death by beating her head with a baseball bat while she said stop then went to Thanksgiving dinner while my daughter was in a black tote. What a sick man. He did all of this in the presence of his 13-month old daughter. He attempted to mislead our family. He told me numerous lies over the phone. Nothing will repair the holes in our heart.
We found her belongings, her luggage. We worried about the babies safety. We learned everything from this horrible loss by the internet and the news. Patrick chose Thanksgiving (long pause) Day to execute his plan forever tainting this holiday for us. We have seen the missing doors, floors etc tainted with Kelsey’s blood. Sleep consisted of about 3 hours for months while we ate once a day while we comforted Kaylee. As the trial approach the sleep became minimal. We have suffered through Kelsey’s birthday, Kaylee’s birthday and the verdict may be given on our anniversary and the anniversary of the last time we talked to Kelsey. We continue to pay the expenses of Kelsey’s home during the investigation. It’s time Kelsey’s rights. We ask for Patrick to be charged with the maximum sentence. We intend to adopt Kaylee. We include Kaylee have suffered long enough. Our lives shouldn’t be dictated by Colorado and Idaho. We have done everything we can to help Kaylee’s mental and physical health. We deserve to take a vacation, shopping without seeking permission. We are wanting to create an aviation scholarship and asking for Frazee to add annually to this cause so others will know that Kelsey made a difference.
Kaylee deserves a letter from Frazee taking full responsibility. She will likely learn about the horrifying details of how her mother died by the hands of her father. She lost both of her parents within a month. We ask for no contact from the Frazee family. They made their choices of supporting a killer. We chose not to seek the death penalty even though it is well deserve. Hopefully Frazee will take this time in prison seeking forgiveness.
As far as Krystal goes they understand that it would have been almost impossible to get a conviction without her testimony. If she would have taken an opportunity to tell police of Patrick’s plan but she chose to believe Patrick’s lies even though there was no evidence. We have yet to see any remorse. She shouldn’t have been able to get the plea deal that she got. She was an active participant, all she didn’t do was swing the bat.”Kelsey Berrreth’s Family statement during sentencing
Read FOX21’s coverage of the entire trial:
- Day 1: Jury seated, opening statements heard in Patrick Frazee trial
- Day 2: Kelsey’s brother, neighbor and Woodland Park Police
- Day 3: More investigators take the stand
- Day 4: Krystal Lee Kenney testifies
- Day 5: Kenney returns to the stand
- Day 6: Cadaver dogs pick up two positive hits
- Day 7: Witness testified Frazee mentioning Berreth is ‘never coming back’
- Day 8: Coworkers of Berreth testify
- Day 9: Text messages show Kelsey Berreth trying to repair relationship
- Day 10: Jail inmate releases letters from Frazee soliciting murder of witnesses
Resources for victims of domestic violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org for free help 24 hours a day.
Violence Free Colorado: Visit violencefreecolorado.org to find resources by county in Colorado. The website also has other resources, including information on how to help a loved one who is being abused.
TESSA of Colorado Springs: Call the 24-Hour Safe Line at 719-633-3819, or visit tessacs.org.
YWCA of Pueblo: Call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 719-545-8195, or visit ywcapueblo.com