US

Patrick Frazee Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Kelsey Berreth as Her Father Looks On

By Zachary Stieber

Patrick Frazee pleaded not guilty to killing his fiancee Kelsey Berreth, who was also the mother of his 1-year-old child at the time of her presumed death late last year.

Berreth vanished from Woodland Park, Colorado on Thanksgiving in 2018, and her body has never been found, but police and prosecutors believe she was killed by Frazee.

Her phone pinged in Idaho several days after her disappearance. Investigators later said Idaho nurse Krystal Jean Lee Kenney took the phone from Colorado to the state. Kenney said she was romantically involved with Frazee and he tried pressuring her into killing Berreth.

She said that after she refused to murder the woman, Frazee eventually went to his fiancee’s house and beat her to death. He then had Kenney clean up the apartment as he burned Berreth’s body at his ranch. Frazee was eventually charged with first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder, and tampering with a deceased human body.

Frazee entered the not guilty plea on May 24, according to Rob McCallum, a spokesman for Colorado courts. The three-week trial is now set to start during the week of October 28. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 14.

Video footage showed Berreth’s mother and father walking into the courtroom.

Media outlets were barred from taking photographs or video footage of the arraignment, McCallum said.

Electronic devices were allowed to be used for note-taking, and reporters were allowed to post on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks, but audio or visual recording from any devices was not allowed.

Frazee was wearing a bulletproof vest, as he did in past court appearances, reported Jennifer Meckles, a reporter with 9 News.

The motion to bar pictures and video was issued by District Court Judge Scott Sells in response to local broadcasters KUSA, KDVR, and KWGN.

“The case has received extraordinary media attention. I have considered whether there is a reasonable likelihood that expanded media coverage would interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial,” he wrote (pdf).

“I have considered whether expanded media coverage would create adverse effects which would be greater than those caused by traditional media coverage. I have determined that any expanded media coverage of the arraignment … would interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial and would create adverse effects greater than those caused by traditional media coverage.”

Colorado killing Kelsey Berreth
Patrick Frazee (L) and Krystal Jean Lee Kenney (R). (Colorado Springs Police Department—Chappin Everett/The Gazette via AP)

Kenney’s Account

Kenney, the nurse, told investigators that she nearly went through with killing Berreth at the behest of Frazee but backed out multiple times, finally telling him she wouldn’t do it.

After Kenney failed three times to kill Berreth, Frazee called her and said, “I guess if you can’t do it, I’ll have to do it.”

Frazee then went to Berreth’s house and tied a sweater around her face before beating her with a baseball bat, he confessed to the nurse, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Gregg Slater testified in court on Feb. 19, reported the Denver Post.

Frazee called Kenney on Nov. 22 and told her to come back to Colorado. “You’ve got a mess to clean up,” he said.

She gathered cleaning supplies and drove to the area, picking up a key to Berreth’s house at Frazee’s ranch. When she opened the door, she saw a horrific scene, with blood splattered across the walls, floor, toys, and furniture.

She said she cleaned the townhome for four hours, but told investigators she left blood splatters in some places because she “was hoping law enforcement would find them sooner and that she would be contacted sooner.”

Frazee confessed to the nurse, she told investigators, and said that their daughter was in the room while he killed her mother. After cleaning the house, Frazee told her to come back to the ranch, which is when he burned what Kenney believes was Berreth’s body.

Law enforcement found blood in multiple places in Berreth’s house, including on the bathtub, a doorknob, and beneath a trash can. Tests showed it was Berreth’s blood.