An Idaho nurse who was charged with tampering with evidence in the case of missing and presumed dead Colorado mother Kelsey Berreth pleaded guilty and said that she helped Patrick Frazee, Berreth’s fiancé because she was afraid he was going to kill her.
Frazee was arrested in late 2018 and charged with killing Berreth and trying to hire at least one person to carry out the murder.
Krystal Lee Kenney, the Idaho nurse, was charged after authorities tracked Berreth’s phone to the state.
Michelle Stein, Kenney’s friend, said that Frazee practically forced the nurse to help him try to cover up Berreth’s death.
“Krystal was very, very scared,” Stein told CBS. “Krystal’s a very levelheaded, kind, fun-loving, happy-go-lucky person. She’s a tough cowgirl. But she was absolutely scared and extremely upset. She did tell me that she has never seen that kind of evil in anybody.”
Stein said that Kenney confided in her about her role in covering up Berreth’s death, explaining that she had known Frazee for 15 years and that the pair previously dated.
Three days after Berreth vanished from Woodland Park on Thanksgiving, her cellphone pinged in Gooding, Idaho, about an hour from Kenney’s house. Two text messages were also sent from the phone: one to Berreth’s workplace, saying she would be away from work for another week, and one to Frazee, the contents of which haven’t been disclosed publicly.
In her guilty plea, Kenney didn’t mention being afraid of Frazee but said that she did have Berreth’s phone and when she obtained it, she knew that Frazee had murdered Berreth on Thanksgiving.
“I learned that Patrick Frazee had committed murder on Nov. 22,” Kenney said in a Colorado courtroom on Feb. 8, reported the Denver Post. “I had no right or authority to remove the cellphone.”
She did not explain how she knew Frazee had committed the murder and court documents pertaining to the matter have been sealed.
District Attorney Dan May said that Kenney won’t be sentenced until after Frazee’s trial or the trials of any additional suspects in the case and that she must testify against Frazee and any other suspects as part of her plea agreement, a process that could take up to two years.
Kenney was barred from speaking to media outlets as part of the guilty plea. She faces up to 18 months in prison, or up to 3 years in prison if a judge finds aggravating circumstances.
Frazee’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19.
Kenney’s best friend reportedly informed her bosses, Joe and Patty Rockstahl, in October 2018 that Kenney, her best friend, told her that “a man had asked her to kill the mother of his child,” the couple told KMVT before the sentencing.
The couple asked the employee to have Kenney talk to them but she never did. They weren’t able to alert authorities in time but they did speak to the FBI after Berreth’s disappearance.
Stein, Kenney’s friend, said that her friend has “very good reasoning for whatever it is she may or may not have done.”
“I can’t really comment completely, but fear, and legitimate fear,” she told CBS. The reporter responded, “That if she didn’t comply with Patrick, he might kill her?” Stein replied, “Yes, that’s what I believe.”