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Krystal Kenney resentenced to 18 months in prison after procedural error forced vacated sentence

Krystal Kenney returns to Teller County courtroom
Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 23, 2021

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — Krystal Kenney, the woman accused of helping cover up her ex-boyfriend's 2018 murder of his fiancée, has been resentenced after the Colorado Court of Appeals found a procedural error and vacated her three-year sentence.

On Tuesday morning, Kenney was resentenced to 18 months in the Department of Corrections and a one-year mandatory parole. She got credit for her time served, which adds up to about 14 months. The CDOC later released a statement saying based on the new sentence, Kenney was now past her mandatory release date. She was released from the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility on parole.

The Idaho woman is accused of tampering with evidence in the 2018 murder of Kelsey Berreth in Teller County. Berreth's fiancé, Patrick Frazee, was found guilty of all counts against him — including first-degree murder — and sentenced to life without parole plus 156 years in November 2019. Kenney had an intimate relationship with Frazee.

During the resentencing, Judge Scott Sells explained how Kenney had assisted in the murder and wasn't as innocent as she claimed. He said he respects the Court of Appeals and needs to follow their guidelines, though he disagreed with its description of Kenney's involvement.

Sells also apologized to the Berreth's family Tuesday morning for any additional pain that the resentencing had caused.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence and agreed to testify at Frazee's murder trial. In the trial, she described how Frazee had asked her multiple times to kill Berreth before doing so himself and asking her to clean up the scene. Kenney also described how Frazee burned a bag with Berreth's body inside it at Frazee's ranch in Florissant. Click here to read more about the case and click here to read about the entire trial.

On Feb. 18, the Colorado Court of Appeals announced that it had found the error and thrown out her three-year sentence. It said that pleading guilty to tampering with physical evidence should have resulted in an 18-month sentence, but the judge decided that there were aggravating factors and so he sentenced her to three years in prison. Aggravating factors include things like if the defendant committed the crime while they were on parole or on probation or have a serious criminal history.

"In order for the judge to make those findings, it needs to be given to a jury and a jury has to decide that one of those factors exist. Here there was no jury, the jury never decided that factor existed and so therefore the judge was not allowed to sentence her to more than 18 months," said David Beller, a legal analyst.

Click here to read the appeals court's full ruling.