Facts from the Patrick Frazee trial; Closing arguments set for Monday
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — Closing arguments are set for Monday in the Patrick Frazee murder trial.
Frazee is accused of beating his fiance, Kelsey Berreth, to death with a baseball bat and burning her body on his ranch.
Berreth was last seen nearly a year ago with the couple’s daughter near her home in Woodland Park, a mountain community of 7,500 people about two hours south of Denver. Several searches, including one at a landfill, did not turn up any sign of her.
Here are the facts from the murder trial:
- Frazee was described as a cold, calculating manipulator during opening arguments
- Prosecutor Jennifer Viehman told jurors Frazee asked Krystal Lee at least three times to kill Berreth
- Lee is a former Idaho nurse who pleaded guilty to evidence tampering for moving Berreth’s cellphone. Lee, who was in a relationship with Frazee, agreed to testify against him under a plea deal.
- Frazee could be heard on a police officer’s body camera when he was asked if he had seen Berreth.
- “We basically had a heart-to-heart and wanted to go separate ways,” Frazee is heard saying. “She request I give her all her possessions.”
- Clinton Berreth testified that when he came to Woodland Park to help search for his sister, he grew more worried when “I looked down and noticed blood on the toilet bowl … and we called the police.”
- During the trial, Lee said she grabbed several blood-spattered items from Berreth’s home to be burned, including a stuffed animal, children’s building blocks and what she thought was a Bible. She also testified that Frazee and Berreth’s baby daughter was in the home when the blindfolded mother was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat.
- Lee also said Frazee put Berreth’s body in a dry water trough and lit it on fire. At one point she said flames were as high as the nearby trees, so Frazee covered the blaze with what appeared to be metal roofing.
- Jurors were shown a photo of what is believed to be a tooth belonging to Berreth. Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Charles DeFrance testified the tooth shown in the photo was found in a burned area of land on a ranch belonging to Frazee.
- Jurors were also shown video of a bloodhound named “Radar” who found evidence of a decomposing body at Frazee’s property.
- A friend of Frazee’s said Frazee wanted to kill Berreth before. He said Frazee repeatedly said, “no body, no crime.”
- One witness told the jury that Frazee said Berreth, “is never coming back.”
- A horse owner testified that Frazee said he just wanted Berreth “gone” so he could raise their daughter with someone else.
- Another witness said Frazee would never say anything kind about Berreth and claimed she was not a good mother.
- A coworker of Lee testified that Lee said, “I did what I had to… to get out alive and keep my kids safe.”
- Another coworker told the court that Lee said she had gotten herself into a bad situation.
- A Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent testified, saying she found a number of suspected blood stains in Berreth’s condo even though it had been cleaned.
- Jurors also heard from some of Berreth’s coworkers who say they were concerned about her before her disappearance. “She had gotten into a confrontation with Patrick… he was acting like a (expletive),” said one friend.
- A forensic anthropologist talked about a tooth found on Frazee’s property. An image of the tooth was displayed to the jury on a large screen. “This tooth has been broken. This is not a whole tooth. I think it’s human,” the anthropologist said.
- Another investigator later said the fragment did not provide enough DNA to determine its source. Investigators have theorized Frazee burned Berreth’s body and the tooth was left behind.
- A social services worker with Teller County told the court she knew there were serious issues brewing between Frazee and Berreth.
- The child and family services administrator — who was assigned to handle custody issues for the couple’s daughter after Frazee was charged with murder — said Frazee talked to her about how they agreed to separate.
- The social worker also said Frazee spoke with her about his co-parenting plan with Berreth and how they planned to share custody.
- Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Greg Slater said in the days before Thanksgiving, Berreth was expressing frustration.
- Slater gave a detailed account of text messages between Berreth and Frazee. Slater said Berreth seemed to be upset about the promise Frazee had made to her about establishing a life together.
- A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent told jurors phones belonging to both Berreth and Frazee were traveling together near Florissant even after she disappeared. He showed the court how he tracked a phone belonging to Lee to Teller County the day after Thanksgiving. Not long afterward, Berreth’s phone went off the grid in Idaho, Lee’s home state.
- A jail inmate, Jacob Bentley, said Frazee asked him to kill Lee. Bentley also testified that Frazee wanted him to kill lead investigator Gregg Slater, Lee’s relatives and others. Slater said notes provided by Bentley appeared to be in Frazee’s handwriting. Frazee’s lawyer questioned Bentley’s credibility. He said Bentley was expected to testify in another case in which a defendant also asked him to kill a witness.
Frazee would be sentenced to life in prison without parole if he is convicted of first-degree murder.
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